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Hannover Re : profits down in 2011

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German reinsurance giant Hannover Re said Wednesday it was optimistic with regard to the outlook for the current year after a string of natural disasters hit earnings last year. 

Hannover Re said in a statement it booked net profit of 606 million euros ($790 million) in 2011, down 19.1 per cent from a year earlier. Operating profit was down 28.6 per cent at 841.4 million euros on a 5.8-percent increase in gross premium income to 12.096 billion euros.

“For the international reinsurance industry the most striking feature of the 2011 financial year was an exceptionally heavy burden of losses from natural disasters,” said chief executive Ulrich Wallin.

In the case of Hannover Re, the losses amounted to 980.7 million euros, the second-highest level in the company’s history.

“The fact that we were still able to generate a pleasing profit shows that we are moving forward towards our goal of reducing the volatility of results,” Wallin said.

Already last month, Hannover Re had said in a preliminary statement that 2011 net profit of around 600 million euros was “comfortably” above target. Looking ahead to 2012, the reinsurer said it was “looking to the current financial year with optimism.”

It had budgeted an amount of 560 million euros for major losses. With “good prospects for further profitable growth” in life and health insurance, Hannover Re was pencilling in organic growth of 5.0-7.0 per cent in total gross premium volume.

“We are looking forward to a good 2012 financial year,” it said.

Frankfurt, March 14, 2012 (AFP)