Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services said on Thursday that its first-quarter net profits soared 76 percent to 935 million dollars (729 million euros), despite high claims over the earthquake in Chile.
The earnings marked a sharp improvement from profits of 532 million dollars 12 months ago, and beat analysts’ forecasts of 860 million dollars, according to a poll conducted by economics newswire AWP.
“Our general insurance business successfully maintained its focus on protecting profit margins, managing to absorb both the significant impact from the Chilean earthquake as well as the top-line pressures driven by reduced economic activity among our customers,” said the group’s chief executive Martin Senn in a statement. An earthquake in Chile in February had a major impact on the group’s general insurance business, where operating profit fell by 30 percent to 621 million dollars.
In addition, “the worst winter weather in many years in Europe and parts of the US as well as a high incidence of hail and storm damage in Australia, all… contributed to a deterioration,” said the group. At the group’s US subsidiary Farmers Management Services, business operating profit soar 43 percent to 462 million dollars, thanks to an acquisition as well as an improvement in the volume of income in insurance policy premiums.
Zurich, May 4, 2010 (AFP)