August 8, 2019 / 4:59 AM / 6 months ago

Zurich Insurance set to beat profit targets after strong first-half

FILE PHOTO: Logo of Zurich insurance is seen at an office building in Zurich, Switzerland August 9, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Zurich Insurance Group (ZURN.S) is set to beat its financial targets as it uses aggressive cost-cutting to counter a weaker topline, Europe’s fifth-biggest insurer said on Thursday.

Its first-half business operating profit (BOP) rose 16% to $2.8 billion (£2.3 billion), while its property & casualty (P&C) business’s operating profit rose 46% and its P&C combined ratio of 95.1% fell to its lowest level in the past decade, it said.

Zurich had said in May it was on track to meet or beat its financial targets to 2019.

Net income rose 14% to $2.04 billion even though gross written premiums and policy fees fell in the half.

Its annualised business operating profit return on equity was 15.0%, versus the target of above 12%. Cumulative cash remittances for the period 2017 to end-June 2019 reached $9.2 billion, on track to exceed the targeted $9.5 billion by end-2019.

“Net cost savings of $1.3 billion have been achieved, with the balance of the $1.5 billion target expected to be delivered over the remainder of the year,” it added.

Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by John Revill

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