Zurich Insurance profits down 19%
Zurich Insurance, the biggest Swiss insurer, said second-quarter profit declined 19 per cent after a gain in the year-earlier period from selling 5 per cent of New China Life Insurance.
Net income fell to $1.08 billion from $1.33 billion a year earlier, the Zurich-based company said in a statement today.
"We have again achieved strong levels of profitability, a very good result in the challenging environment," chief executive officer Martin Senn said in the statement.
Zurich Insurance booked a gain of $441 million in the year- earlier quarter from the New China Life sale.
Meanwhile, operating profit at Zurich's Irish operations dropped from $15 million in 2011 to $9 million in the first six months of this year, while new business after tax declined from $33 million to $31 million.
“Despite a challenging market in Ireland where margins remain under pressure, Zurich Life is focused on maintaining our pricing discipline and writing profitable business to ensure our long term financial strength and leading position in the independent broker market,” Anthony Brennan, CEO Zurich Life Assurance said.
Zurich Insurance is targeting growth in emerging markets to boost profit and last year acquired 51 per cent of Banco Santander's Latin America insurance business and Malaysian Assurance Alliance Bhd.
Allianz and Axa, Europe's biggest insurers, earlier this month reported profit that beat analysts' estimates helped by higher earnings at their life and health businesses.
"The result is OK, but nothing more," said Stefan Schuermann, a Zurich-based analyst with Vontobel.
"There is little drive in the results today after Allianz's upbeat earnings presentation last week."
Zurich Insurance reported a business operating profit after-tax return on equity of 10.9 per cent in the quarter compared with its long-term target of 16 per cent.
Zurich said yesterday it appointed Michael Kerner as CEO of its general insurance unit, replacing Mario Greco, who joined Assicurazioni General SpA as CEO on August 1st.