Zurich’s APAC P&C operations suffer setback

Weaker performance, weather losses reveal difficulties facing newly-appointed head

Zurich’s APAC P&C operations suffer setback

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Zurich Insurance’s Asia-Pacific property and casualty business turned in weaker growth for the first half of the year, highlighting the difficulties faced by the insurer’s newly appointed regional chief.

The Swiss insurer took in US$114 million in operating profits, a 3% year-on-year growth, in the property and casualty insurance sector. Weather-induced losses in Hong Kong and the sale of its Taiwan business were cited as the reasons contributing to the decline, but these were offset by better performance in Japan, said Zurich.

However, Zurich’s far smaller life insurance business fared better, bringing in US$78 million in profit from Asia. On the acquisitions front, the insurer has bought the Macquarie Group's retail life insurance business and travel insurer Cover-More in Australia and MAA Takaful Bhd, an Islamic insurance business in Malaysia. The Cover-More acquisition made a notable contribution to the non-technical result for the first time in 2017.

On a more positive note, Zurich’s combined US$192 million operating profit is a 35% year-on-year increase, despite difficult market conditions.

As Zurich struggles to grow in Asia-Pacific, Jack Howell, who was appointed regional head last year, faces several tough challenges, reports Finews Asia.

Howell was a colleague of Zurich CEO Mario Greco in Generali, and his appointment to the Asia role is seen as a sign of the company’s intention to remain in Asia after it was rumoured to be considering a partial or full exit from the market.

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