Switzerland’s Zurich Insurance Group has reported that its net profit attributable to shareholders after taxes for the third quarter of 2012 has declined by 62% to $477m from $1.2bn during the same period a year ago.

Total business volumes for the third quarter, which include written premiums, policy fees, insurance deposits and management fees, improved by 5% to $16.5bn, due to performances in the US and Latin America.

The general insurance division posted an increase of 5% in operating profits for the nine months ended on 30 September 2012, due to writedowns in Germany offset by a relative lack of natural disasters as well as improved underwriting and cost management.

Its life insurance division incurred a drop in operating profits by 5%, due to impact of low interest rates on the group’s net investment margin.

Farmers business also bore a 9% decrease in profits, mainly because of net underwriting losses caused by higher than expected weather damage.

Incorporated on 26 April 2000, Zurich Insurance Group was renamed this year from Zurich Financial Services to streamline its business operations and concentrate on insurance.