Brought to you by:

Zurich clocks up record $11 billion profit 

Zurich’s operating profit rose 21% to a record $US7.4 billion ($11.3 billion) last year.

The result was ahead of all targets, with particularly strong growth in property and casualty (P&C) and life.

“I expect this positive momentum to continue,” Group CEO Mario Greco said.

In the Asia-Pacific region, where Zurich has 11.7 million customers, operating profit rose 18% to $US565 million ($860.57 million). 

Asia-Pacific P&C gross written premium increased 11% to $US3.61 billion ($5.49 billion), driven by “an excellent performance in the personal and mid-market sectors in Australia”, plus travel and motor volumes. 

The region’s life and savings new business premium grew 44% to $US2.94 billion ($4.48 billion), helped by increased volumes of corporate business in Australia.  

Group CFO George Quinn says steps were taken after the total and permanent disability business in Australia produced poorer results early in the year. 

“The Australian business did some repricing towards the end of last year. That’s had a significant positive impact on that business,” he said. “It’s one of the benefits that we have in the Australian market ... We can reprice, which is not a feature that we find in too many other markets.” 

Zurich’s global P&C operating profit was $US3.9 billion ($5.94 billion), up 10%. P&C achieved double-digit premium growth, exceeding rate increases of 6%. The combined operating ratio was unchanged at 94.5%. 

Life posted a record $US2.1 billion ($3.19 billion) operating profit. Commercial insurance profit was $US3.6 billion ($5.48 billion) on a combined operating ratio of 91.4%. 

Zurich has lifted its forecast earnings per share to compound annual growth of more than 10%, up from an earlier 8% forecast, and expects “mid-single-digit” growth in P&C sales.

It is undertaking a share buyback of up to 1.1 billion Swiss francs ($1.9 billion).