Press release 29.4.2022

Ilmarinen’s Interim Report 1 January to 31 March 2022: Premiums written grew, cost-effectiveness improved and solvency remained strong in a challenging market

The return on Ilmarinen’s investment portfolio was -2.2 (4.8 per cent), i.e. EUR 1.4 billion negative due to falling stock prices and rising interest rates. The market value of investments fell to EUR 59.1 (60.8) billion. The long-term average return on investments was 6.1 per cent. This corresponds to an annual real return of 4.4 per cent.

As a result of the negative return on investment operations, the total result for January–March fell to EUR -1.3 (1.4) billion.

Premiums written rose by 13 per cent to EUR 1.6 (1.4) billion thanks to strong growth in payrolls and the 0.45 percentage point increase made in TyEL contributions. EUR 1.6 (1.5) billion was paid in pensions.

Net customer acquisition was EUR 55 (93) million and customer retention was 97.2 (97.4) per cent.

Loading profit improved to EUR 12 (11) million and the ratio of operating expenses to expense loading components to 67 (72) per cent, despite the 9.5 per cent reduction in the expense loading rate. Operating expenses financed using loading income amounted to EUR 26 (29) million.

Solvency capital was EUR 15.3 (16.5) billion and the solvency ratio was 134.0 (136.7) per cent.

Outlook: Ilmarinen’s premiums written are expected to grow in 2022, due to higher payrolls and the 0.45-percentagepoint increase in the TyEL contribution. Loading income will decrease as a result of the lowering of the premium rate in the insurance contribution’s administrative cost component. The loading profit is nevertheless expected to grow thanks to increasing cost effectiveness. 

President and CEO Jouko Pölönen:

“In January–March the investment market experienced strong volatility due to accelerating inflation, central banks’ tightening monetary policy and the war begun by Russia. The return on Ilmarinen’s investments in January–March was -2.2 per cent, i.e. EUR -1.4 billion. Solvency remained strong, premiums written grew and cost-effectiveness improved.

From a global economy standpoint the first quarter was twofold. Economies’ recovery from Covid-19 has been brisk and employment and payrolls showed positive development. However, the Covid-19 situation continues to cast a shadow over economic growth, among other things, due to China’s lockdown measures. The rapid rise in energy and raw material prices and especially the rise in wages resulting from the US labour shortage have accelerated inflation, which has led to the tightening of monetary policy.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine is entirely indefensible and has caused great suffering for the people trapped in the midst of the war. Millions have had to leave their homes. The war impacts the security and economy of Finland and the rest of Europe, creating uncertainty and concern about the future. It is more important than ever to prepare for security threats and various types of disturbances. In Finland, the payment of pensions is secure also in emergency conditions, and there are reserve systems in place in case of disturbances.

Russia’s war has been widely condemned, and unprecedented economic sanctions have been imposed to prevent its continuation and expansion. The economic sanctions are further increasing the challenges related to the availability and price of energy, raw materials and food, and to economic growth.

The key equity markets fell and interest rates rose clearly in the first quarter. The return on equities in Ilmarinen’s investment portfolio was -3.5 per cent. The return on fixed income investments was -1.7 per cent, 0.4 on real estate investments and -0.5 per cent on other investments. The long-term average nominal return on investments was 6.1 per cent, corresponding to a 4.4 per cent annual real return. The solvency ratio remained strong at 134 per cent and the solvency capital was EUR 15.3 billion. The solvency buffers built up through long-term funding and investing protect pension assets during market volatility.

Premiums written grew by 13 per cent to EUR 1.6 billion. Behind the strong growth is the brisk increase in the payroll of employees insured with Ilmarinen and the 0.45 percentage point increase made in the pension contribution. The number of employees in the companies belonging to Ilmarinen’s business cycle index increased by 3.7 per cent year-on-year during January–March. Recovery has been strong especially in the restaurant and hospitality sector and in staff leasing services, which suffered from the Covid-19 crisis.

We paid EUR 1.6 billion in pensions to around 455,000 pensioners. In Q1, Ilmarinen received close to 6 per cent more disability pension applications than in the previous year. The positive development seen in disability pension incidence during the Covid-19 pandemic seems to have turned. Problems related to mental health are the most common cause behind new disability pensions. According to the survey we published in February, almost two thirds of pension recipients were interested in working alongside their pension, the majority part-time, around two days per week. The main reasons pension recipients had for working were having something interesting to do and improving their income.

Thanks to strong growth and improved cost-effectiveness, the loading profit for January–March improved to EUR 12 million and the ratio of operating expenses to expense loading components to 67 per cent, despite the 9.5 per cent reduction in the expense loading rate. Operating expenses financed using loading income came to EUR 26 million, i.e. EUR 3.6 million less year-on-year.

Ilmarinen’s goal is to achieve a carbon-neutral investment portfolio by the end of 2035. The Climate Roadmap we published towards the end of last year describes the tools and interim targets for achieving carbon neutrality. We only purchase electricity generated with zero carbon dioxide emissions for our Finnish real estate. We further tightened our policy concerning fossil fuels and divested investments in companies that are planning new coal investments. In 2021, the carbon intensity of Ilmarinen’s direct listed equity investments decreased 30 per cent. However, absolute emissions grew with investment assets growing more than EUR 8 billion. The assault launched by Russia further highlights the need to accelerate the green transition and improve energy self-sufficiency and security of supply.”

Read more:

Ilmarinen's Interim Report 1 January–31 March 2022 (pdf)
Attachments (pdf)

For more information, please contact:

Jouko Pölönen, President and CEO, tel. +358 50 1282
Mikko Mursula, Chief Investment Officer, tel. +358 50 380 3016
Liina Aulin, Executive Vice President, Communications and Corporate Responsibility, tel. +358 40 770 9400

Current topics

Press release 21.3.2022

Responsibility for pensions is responsibility for the future – Ilmarinen has published its Annual and Sustainability Report 2021

The carbon intensity of direct listed equity investments decreased and the new Climate Roadmap shows our journey towards a net zero carbon investment portfolio. Ilmarinen’s Annual and Sustainability Report provides information on the impacts that managing your pension security has on the economy, people and the environment.

Responsibility for pensions is responsibility for the future – Ilmarinen has published its Annual and Sustainability Report 2021

Press release 18.2.2022

Ilmarinen’s financial statements 2021: Investment assets and solvency capital rose to record levels and strong development continued in customer acquisition and in improving cost effectiveness

Ilmarinen’s return on investments was 15.3 per cent, or EUR 8.1 billion. The value of investment assets rose to an all-time high, at EUR 60,8 billion, and solvency strengthened.

Ilmarinen’s financial statements 2021: Investment assets and solvency capital rose to record levels and strong development continued in customer acquisition and in improving cost effectiveness
More news and press releases