Zurich Insurance posted a 21 percent rise in second-quarter net earnings as the group made strides in enacting a turnaround plan set out last year.
The Swiss insurer's net profit for April through June rose to $896 million, beating even the highest estimate in Reuters poll of analysts that on average expected $790 million.
“I am very pleased to report results that show what dedicated people can accomplish in a relatively short time, as we were able to grow our businesses in local currencies, improve our underwriting and expand our customer reach, all while reducing our cost base,” said Group Chief Executive Officer Mario Greco. “Based on that performance, we are confident that we will maintain this positive momentum, which positions us well to improve our shareholders’ returns and drive sustainable dividend growth.”
Excluding a first-quarter British claims rate change that dented the insurer's earnings, its half-year combined ratio improved by 0.3 basis point to 97.8 percent. A level below 100 indicates it took in more in premiums than it paid out in claims.
It said pricing adjustments, falling costs and improved underwriting performance had benefited the property and casualty business during the first half.
In terms of business highlights, the acquisition of the Cover-More Group Limited in Australia, a leading travel insurer, and Halo Insurance Services Limited, a specialist UK-based online rental car insurance platform, expanded the Group’s personal lines offerings and distribution channels while solidifying Zurich’s position as a leading global travel insurance provider.
German rival Allianz last week posted a 22.9 percent rise in second-quarter operating profit to €2.9 billion as Chief Executive Oliver Baete said the group's three-year renewal plan was clearly bearing fruit.
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