Zurich Insurance unveils full-year financial results | Insurance Business New Zealand
Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) has become the latest insurance giant to report its full-year 2022 results which have been described by group CEO Mario Greco as a “remarkable achievement”. Among the headline figures reported by the Swiss insurer, it was revealed that its group business operating profit (BOP) soared 12% to $6.5 billion (approx. £5.36 billion), its highest since 2007.
Property and Casualty results
Across Property and Casualty (P&C), BOP rose 14% to $3.6 billion with a stable combined ratio standing at 94.3%, which was linked to continued improvement in commercial margins with a record level of premiums recorded. Zurich noted that lower catastrophe and weather-related claims were partially offset by the inflationary environment experienced within the retail and SME business in H2 2022, in particular within the motor business.
Meanwhile, commercial insurance continued to benefit from higher earned rate and margin expansion.
Gross written premiums (GWP) grew an impressive 14% across the business, with growth in both retail and commercial insurance across all regions. Broken down across key regions, Zurich revealed:
- In the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, growth was driven by a combination of rate increases, higher retention and improved new business.
- Meanwhile, North America continued to benefit from higher commercial insurance prices, as well as rising agricultural commodity prices driving top-line growth in crop insurance.
- Asia-Pacific saw a strong recovery in the travel insurance business and overall growth across the region.
- Latin America returned to growth with a strong performance in Brazil supported by a rebound from lower levels in the previous year due to COVID-19.
Across its P&C business, the group achieved price increases of about 6% in the year, supported by a commercial insurance rate change of 8%.
How Zurich’s Life business fared
Zurich’s Life business also boasted a strong operating performance with BOP hitting a historic high of $1.9 million, up 8% year-on-year despite unfavourable currency movements. The insurer revealed that stronger operating performance and lower COVID-19 claims offset the adverse effects of financial markets, with COVID-19 claims falling to $57 million from $195 million in 2021.
The new business margin of Zurich’s Life business dipped 29.1% from 2021 to 24.8% in 2022, which was accredited to a net unfavourable impact of modelling and assumption updates, a less favourable product mix within preferred lines, and adverse economic variances. These factors also resulted in a new business value of $761 million, 15% below the previous year.
Mario Greco on a strong year for the business
Commenting on the results seen by the group, Greco said: “We have exceeded our financial targets for the second consecutive three-year period. These were tough years with unexpected challenges during which we had to stay very agile and focused on our goals. We continued to execute our strategy with strong discipline and successfully drove our results to deliver the targets. I would like to thank all my colleagues, our customers and our partners for this remarkable achievement.”
Touching on the success of Zurich’s P&C and Life businesses, Greco highlighted that the insurer has proposed a 9% increase in the dividend per share to CHF24.
“In November, we presented our new financial targets and raised our ambitions for the next three years,” he said. “Over the period 2023-2025, we will accelerate the execution of our customer-centred strategy by further extending the application of data analytics throughout the group and by accelerating digital innovation.
“The combination of continued margin improvement in our commercial business, improving trends in retail and our ability to grow across all our businesses supports the group’s higher financial ambition for the 2023-2025 cycle.”
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