The COVID-19 pandemic has struck again, with another insurance giant left reeling from its impact.
Zurich Insurance Group has released its interim 2020 results showing business operating profit of US$1.7 billion (around NZ$2.58 billion) – a 40% drop from last year’s H1 result of US$2.8 billion (around NZ$4.26 billion). A large chunk of this can be attributed to the impact of the coronavirus, which was attributed for US$686 million (around NZ$1.04 billion) of the fall.
Meanwhile, net income attributable to shareholders came in at US$1.2 billion – down 42% compared to last year’s US$2 billion during the same period. Property and casualty estimated claims from COVID-19 came in at US$750 million.
Despite the gloom, CEO Mario Greco was keen to point to strong growth across commercial insurance gross written premiums as an indicator that the group is still well positioned.
“The first half of 2020 has been an unprecedented period with unforeseeable events ranging from a global pandemic and recession, to civil unrest and a higher rate of natural catastrophes,” he said.
“Our business developed well in the first six months of the year in spite of the uncertainties.
“Our commercial business reported strong growth following improvements to the portfolio mix in recent years, and is positioned to further benefit from the improved pricing environment. We continue to expand our digital offering, whose growth contributed to the resilience of our retail business. We launched Zurich WellCare to serve demand for health and wellbeing services, and plan further steps this year to accelerate the digital transformation.
“While our operating environment changes, our goals are the same – we remain confident in the strength of our business, our strategy, and our ability to adapt to changing needs.”
Overall, the company’s P&C combined ratio stood at 99.8% - that’s up from last year’s H1 2019 figure of 95.1%. Gross written premiums in property and casualty were up 4% on a like-for-like basis.