Zurich Insurance has reported a 20% increase in its business operating profit (BOP) for the financial year 2018 (FY 2018) to $4.56bn, compared to $3.8bn it reported for the previous year.
The net income attributable to shareholders after tax moved up 24% in the 12 months ended 31 December 2018 to $3.71bn, said Zurich Insurance. This was in comparison to the $3.0bn figure reported by the Swiss insurance giant for FY 2017.
The company said that the profit in 2018 was due to underlying growth it achieved across the business, especially in its life insurance business, and underwriting improvements in its property and casualty division.
In its life business, the insurance major made a 23% profit in FY 2018 at $1.55bn compared to $1.26bn it reported in the previous year. The profit growth was due to portfolio growth, especially in Asia Pacific and Latin America and reduced expenses, said Zurich Insurance.
The life gross written premiums, policy fees and insurance deposit for the reported period remained roughly the same at $33.45bn compared to $33.24bn in FY 2017.
The company said that BOP for its property and casualty business was up by 35% at $2.08bn in FY 2018 compared to $1.54bn reported in the previous year. It attributed the growth to improved underlying underwriting performance in a challenging environment resulting from management actions.
The company’s Farmers business reported profit of $1.64bn for FY 2018, which is 3% lower than the prior year, owing to reductions at Farmers Life and Farmers Re. The BOP for Farmers Management Services was largely stable, said the insurance group.
Zurich Insurance’s board of directors are expected to propose an increase of nearly 6% to the dividend to CHF19 ($18.96) per share.
Zurich Insurance group CEO Mario Greco: “We are very pleased with the excellent progress achieved in 2018 in executing our customer-led strategy. We set challenging goals and are delivering against them.
“We have continued to strengthen our profitability and lower costs while growing our business, expanding our global footprint and broadening our range of innovative solutions to meet the changing needs of customers. This performance gives us great confidence as we enter the next phase of our development over the year ahead.”