Earlier this year ICMIF member Vaudoise Assurances (Switzerland) concluded a merger with Swiss insurance cooperative Epona SA. As a long-standing cooperative member of Epona, the Vaudoise Group wants to breathe new life into the Swiss leader in animal insurance while respecting its mutualist roots and 120-year history. Vaudoise Assurances, which already owns the dog and cat insurance company Animalia, is developing a multi-brand strategy.
Vaudoise Assurances is the only independent private insurance company with a decision-making centre in French-speaking Switzerland. It is one of the ten largest private insurers in the Swiss market. Founded in 1895, it has recognised expertise in all areas of insurance, pension and asset management. The Group employs more than 1,650 people, including around 100 trainees.
The transaction sees Vaudoise Assurances taking a majority stake in Epona SA, a newly created company following the transfer of Epona Cooperative’s insurance business, which was approved by the Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) last December. Thus, all of the cooperative’s insurance policies, employees and financial commitments have been transferred from Epona Cooperative to Epona SA. This is the final stage of a merger initiated in June 2021 between Epona and the Vaudoise Group, the cooperative’s historical member.
Since 2016, the Vaudoise Group has owned Animalia, an insurance company specialising in health and accident cover for dogs and cats The aim of this transaction with Epona is the development a multi-brand strategy in the field of pet insurance for Vaudoise. In future, the two strong brands Animalia and Epona will remain independent, each with its own specific characteristics. They will retain their own management team and pursue their own business strategy.
Jean-Daniel Laffely, CEO of the Vaudoise Group said: “Our company and Epona have the same mutualist origins. This link certainly strengthened our decision to invest, but above all Epona, like Animalia, has potential in a market which, in international comparison, is not yet mature. We are looking forward to supporting the existing team to achieve this growth.”
Vaudoise Assurances to distribute CHF 36 million of profits to its non-life policyholders
In line with its mutualist strategy, each year Vaudoise Assurances pays out part of its profits in the form of premium rebates to its policyholders. Based on its positive financial results in 2021, the company has announced a profit sharing of CHF 36 million with non-life policyholders, corresponding to a 10% premium rebate for motor vehicle policyholders in 2022-2023.
Vaudoise Assurances has been redistributing non-life surpluses to its policyholders in the form of premium retrocession since 2011, alternating between motor and property/casualty insurance policyholders. By 30 June 2023, Vaudoise Assurances will have redistributed a total of nearly CHF 330 million to policyholders.
Despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic and major hailstorms and floods, the Vaudoise Group had an excellent year in 2021. This operating result is mainly due to a controlled claims experience, despite the cost of the bad weather in the summer, and to very favourable investment results.
“We are very pleased with this result. In a year marked by the pandemic and natural disasters, we were able to rely on the unwavering commitment of our employees and a solid business model. We were able to stand together with humanity, empathy and efficiency,” said CEO Jean-Daniel Laffely.