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Growth in foreign premiums and high claims payments due to extreme weather events

By 5. July 2024No Comments

Unusually high claims expenses and premium growth in foreign markets characterised the 2023 financial year for Gartenbau-Versicherung. At the members’ representatives’ meeting in Niedernhausen, the two board members Christian Senft and Dr Dietmar Kohlruss emphasised the extraordinary challenges of the past year and gave a cautious forecast for the current year.


Premium growth in direct business

Both board members expressed their satisfaction with the significant premium growth recorded by
Gartenbau Versicherung in the 2023 financial year. Gross premiums rose to a total volume of 116.2
million euros. This growth was largely driven by direct business, particularly in the foreign markets of
France, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Foreign business accounted for 47.9% of the total direct
business of Gartenbau-Versicherung in 2023. For 2024, for the first time in the history of horticultural
insurance, a parity premium level of 50% in Germany and 50% in the other European countries is on
the horizon. “The decision taken around thirty years ago to expand into Europe was and is the right
one,” emphasised CEO Christian Senft, referring to the declining number of members in Germany,
which is due to businesses having to close for economic reasons or being unable to find a successor.


As the highest body of the horticultural insurance company, the members’ representatives
meet once a year to decide on fundamental questions of company policy.


Exceptionally high damage

The extreme weather events of the past year are also reflected in the claims balance of horticultural
insurance: at 76.3%, the gross loss ratio in direct business reached the second-highest value in a tenyear
comparison. This was due to severe hail events in Germany, Italy and Switzerland, as well as
flooding in Greece, a Mediterranean cyclone over Sicily and the storm Ciarán over Brittany. The most
heavily impacted line of insurance was hail, with a gross loss ratio of 119%. Indirect business also
recorded a significantly higher gross loss ratio in 2023.
“Due to the steadily growing importance of our cross-regional risk diversification, we expanded our
business area to Belgium at the beginning of 2024. We are now present on the market there in the
form of open co-insurance,” said CEO Senft, explaining the future direction of the company with
regard to even broader risk diversification. He also emphasised: “Even in times of climate change, we
are striving to offer stability and security for our members in Germany and Europe.”



Positive annual result before deduction of taxes

Gartenbau-Versicherung is gradually reorganising itself in key areas such as IT in order to continue to
offer its members the best protection and advice. The associated costs are an important investment in
the future, but have an impact on gross operating expenses, which have increased by €0.7 million
compared to the previous year.

Reinsurance cover remains a central component of risk management at Gartenbau Versicherung. In
the reporting year, the reinsurance result totalled € -3.2 million, an improvement on the previous year.
Overall, Horticultural Insurance reported a loss of €2.3 million before equalisation provision in the gross
underwriting result for 2023. In contrast to 2022, a withdrawal from the equalisation reserve was
necessary in the reporting year, which enabled Gartenbau-Versicherung to achieve a positive net
underwriting result of €3.4 million.

The result from ordinary activities before taxes was a profit of 3.5 million euros. After deducting taxes,
the net loss for the year totalled EUR 1.1 million. At this point, CFO Dr Dietmar Kohlruss emphasised
the positive gross result that was achieved despite challenging market conditions and higher
reinsurance costs. “This shows the strength and stability of our business model. We will continue to
make targeted investments in our risk management and reinsurance strategies in order to ensure
stable and positive results in the future and to be able to support our members as a reliable partner,”
Dr Kohlruss concluded his summary of the business performance.


The actions of the Executive Board and Supervisory Board were also approved at the Members’
Representatives Meeting.


New members in the committees

In the regular elections, Supervisory Board members Hanspeter Meyer and Tobias Müller were
confirmed in their positions. Karin Hagdorn was newly elected to the Supervisory Board. The graduate
in public administration runs a tomato company in the Stuttgart area together with her husband. She
succeeds Klaus Umbach, who stepped down from the Supervisory Board after 24 years, so that the
Supervisory Board “can and may successively rejuvenate”. The Chairman of the Supervisory Board,
Frank Werner, expressly thanked Klaus Umbach for his intensive and long-standing work on the
Supervisory Board, which was always orientated towards the well-being of the horticultural insurance

The term of office of numerous member representatives was also renewed by the 40-strong meeting.
Ute Gorges, co-owner of a pot plant business in Babenhausen, and Andreas Huben, Baumschule
Huben Ladenburg, stood for election as new member representatives. Both have already gained
committee experience as deputy member representatives. Mario Mertz (family-run garden centre from
Hadamar) and Oliver Mewes, Managing Director of an ornamental plant company in France,
successfully stood as their deputy member representatives. Chairman of the Supervisory Board Frank
Werner expressed his sincere thanks to all departing member representatives for their trusting
cooperation. He was able to express his personal thanks to Jürgen Mertz, who was not standing for reelection
as a member representative at his own request after 26 years.


Chairman of the Supervisory Board Frank Werner (left) and the two Management Board members Dr
Dietmar Kohlruss (2nd from left) and Christian Senft (right) welcome Karin Hagdorn as a new member of the
Supervisory Board.


Mario Mertz (centre) and Oliver Mewes (2nd from right) successfully ran as deputy member