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Zurich expects to exceed targets after strong quarter

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Zurich expects to “exceed all financial targets” for this year after a jump in premiums underpinned a strong first quarter.

“We saw a rise in premiums across the group, most notably in our North American property and casualty business, where crop insurance and rate increases drove double-digit top-line growth,” CFO George Quinn said.

Despite inflationary pressures, Zurich anticipates rates will also exceed its loss-cost trend well into next year.

Zurich says its direct exposure to Russia and Ukraine through its property and casualty operations and investment portfolio is likely to be minimal.

“Although the effects of the war are expected to lead to significant losses for the insurance industry, we do not expect insurance claims to be significant for the group,” Mr Quinn said.

March quarter property and casualty gross written premium (GWP) rose 8% to $US11.93 billion ($17.12 billion) supported by commercial insurance, while higher prices for agricultural commodities contributed 2 percentage points.

In Asia Pacific, GWP increased 11% on a like-for-like basis compared, with rebounding travel insurance sales in Australia, higher retail sales in Japan and further growth in commercial insurance across the region the main contributors.

Zurich life annual premium equivalent increased 8% to $US996 million ($1.4 billion) and Farmers Exchanges GWP jumped 29% to $US6.88 billion ($9.87 billion), supported by the acquired MetLife US property and casualty operations as well as business growth.

The company says the Zurich Foundation has stepped up to help those impacted by the Ukraine events through fundraising and other initiatives across Europe.

“The war in Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis that it has triggered are almost beyond comprehension. The group and the Zurich Foundation have provided financial and logistical support,” Mr Quinn said.

“We are especially proud of our colleagues who have opened their homes to families fleeing the war.”