EuropeOur businesses

We operate in 14* countries across Europe ‒ a region characterized by a number
of different retirement systems, which are evolving at very different speeds.

While we operate in more than ten countries in Europe (including the Netherlands, the UK and Ireland, six Central and Eastern European markets, Spain and Portugal), our story in the region this year cannot be told without mentioning the UK’s vote to leave the EU.

This referendum was a reminder that, as a global insurance company, we ‘earn our stripes’ during uncertain times.  The desire for security is perhaps all the more acute during periods of change.

*We sold our Ukraine business in September, 2016.

Marco Keim (CEO Aegon the Netherlands), Adrian Grace (CEO Aegon UK) & Gábor Kepecs (CEO Aegon Central & Eastern Europe)

In the coming years, we will continue to take a close interest in aspects of the negotiations to leave the EU which could affect our customers, and will make any changes necessary as a result. Over the course of 2016 we have made considerable steps in transforming our business in the UK; throughout this Review, we will talk about how we have reorganized significant parts of our business – letting go of the vast majority of our annuities, divesting a £6 billion annuity portfolio to Rothesay Life in April and a £3 billion annuity portfolio to Legal & General a month later.   

The divestments reduced our exposure to low interest rates and volatile markets, and enable the UK to continue to shift to a capital-light business, in line with the Group as a whole. The sales coincided with the acquisition of BlackRock’s pension business in May, (with approximately £12 billion in assets), followed by the Cofunds acquisition.

In the Netherlands, we have an established market position and we continue to show good results. At the same time we realize that, in order to stay profitable and competitive, like elsewhere in our business, we need to keep improving our customer experience and accelerate our innovations in digital, while at the same time we need to transition towards more efficient ways of working. For Aegon the Netherlands we have set ourselves an expense savings target of €50 million by 2018.

"This was the year that we put our plans into action. With projects such as ‘Robby the robot’ in Leeuwarden, we’re helping our colleagues find more space and time to devote to customer service.

- Marco Keim, CEO Aegon the Netherlands

“2016 has been a year of transformational deals. We are now integrating our new business, and continue to set ourselves up for the future as one of the largest players in the UK platform market.”

- Adrian Grace, CEO Aegon UK

“We have focused on profitable growth in the CEE region and this has paid off, resulting in significantly increased protection sales, and underlying earnings which increased on notable growth in Hungary, Turkey and Slovakia."

- Gábor Kepecs, CEO Aegon Central & Eastern Europe

9.8million

In Europe we served close to 10 million customers in 2016

€655million

In 2016, total underlying earnings in Europe were €655 million

5.5

Average Retirement readiness score, Europe = 5.5 (Germany and UK have the highest score at 6.1 – 2016)

Digital push

We have also made progress in mobile, digital interaction, omni-channel distribution, and personal finance tooling. For example, our online bank in the Netherlands, Knab, implemented a system allowing customers to transfer money using mobile phone numbers. We continue to invest in Fintech start-ups whose technology we think is relevant for us through our Transamerica Corporate Venture Fund.

Customer perspective

Aegon Assist is a UK-based team of trained specialists that helps to guide customers over the phone through the pension decision-making process. Aegon Assist contributes to our omni-channel approach, which helps us to further our customer connection.

Making the most of our optimized portfolio

In the Netherlands, we sold our commercial line non-life business to Allianz Benelux. We also sold 100% of Aegon Life Ukraine shares to the TAS group, and reached an agreement to manage Nordea’s Polish Pillar II pension fund.

We announced in December that, as of January 1, 2017, Marco Keim would become responsible for Aegon’s activities in continental Europe. This brings Aegon the Netherlands, Central & Eastern Europe, Spain and Portugal under one Aegon managerial leadership. Looking ahead, we expect to realize significant revenue synergies through cross-border collaboration in continental Europe.  


*We sold our Ukraine business in September, 2016.