Zurich Insurance Group has posted a net income after tax attributable to shareholders of $1.85bn for the first-half ended on 30 June 2013, a decline of 17% compared to $2.22bn for the same period last year.

During the period, business operating profit (BOP) declined by 9% to $2.28bn compared to $2.51bn for the same period last year.

The decline in net income and BOP was primarily due to natural catastrophes and large weather-related events, including major floods in eastern and central Europe.

In addition, tornadoes in Oklahoma and a number of mid-sized, weather-related events in the US, Canada and Europe also affected the company’s H1 results.

For the second quarter of 2013, the company’s net income reduced by 27% to $789m compared to $1.08bn for the same period last year.

Zurich Insurance Group CEO Martin Senn said that the economic environment remains challenging with continued low interest rates exerting pressure on the company’s investment income.

"Global Life and General Insurance continued to progress in target markets, while Farmers Re showed an improved underwriting performance, and our capital and solvency remain excellent," Senn added.