Profits down at Zurich, firm upbeat

13 August 2008

Second-quarter profits dipped 2.5 per cent at Zurich, the firm announced today.

The insurer, Switzerland's largest, declared a net income of $1.25 billion - 2.5 per cent down on April-June 2007.

Losses relating to its exposure to property markets - which are still declining across western Europe and the US - have been blamed for the slight fall.

However, the latest net income declaration is markedly better than other Swiss-listed financial firms, and points to continuing strength at Zurich's insurance units.

Net earnings in the general insurance division is up by 49 per cent, while the life unit also climbed 6.5 per cent.

Zurich's chief executive, James Schiro, said: "We are executing on a successful growth strategy that is bolstering our position in attractive markets…these are excellent results under any market condition."

Speaking to Bloomberg, JPMorgan analyst Michael Huttner added: These are good numbers and this is the only company I follow that beat estimates.

"The non-life result is stunning because premiums have been declining generally."

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