Zurich Insurance Group net income down 3%
Zurich Insurance said operating profit in its general insurance business, the company's largest, rose 1% year on the year to $2.89 billion. Gross written premiums and policy fees decreased slightly in dollar terms but rose 2% as measured in local currencies to $36.33 billion.
For the year ended December 31, net income fell to $3.9 billion. The company reported a 20% fall in fourth-quarter net income to $858 million, but beat the $816 million forecast in a poll of 10 analysts by Dow Jones Newswires.
In a statement, Zurich Chief Executive Officer Martin Senn said the insurer took a $247 million loss in the fourth quarter that was generated by the sale of a Russian retail business. Zurich had previously said it was exiting the business.
The combined ratio of Zurich's general insurance business improved to 97.3% from 98%. A combined ratio, which measures how much is paid out on claims and costs per dollar earned, of less than 100% means that an insurer's core underwriting business is profitable.
Zurich's board proposed a dividend of 17 Swiss francs ($18.29) per share. ■
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