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Rate rises driving profit in Australia: Swiss Re

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Australian non-life insurers’ profitability improved last year despite higher losses from Cyclone Debbie and other natural catastrophes, according to Swiss Re.

“This reflects higher premium rates, reserve releases and higher reinsurance protection,” the reinsurer says in its financial report for the year.

Premium grew 2% thanks to solid growth in personal lines, and commercial premium returned to growth, underpinned by better economic conditions and rising rates.

Swiss Re’s net earned premium and fee income from Australia increased to nearly $US2.1 billion ($2.83 billion) last year from $US1.92 billion ($2.59 billion) in 2016.

The group is to propose a share buyback of up to 1 billion Swiss francs ($1.35 billion) at its annual general meeting next month.