Zurich Insurance sees 14% jump in H1 profit

Thursday 07 August 2014 12.29
Operating profit at Zurich Insurance's Irish division was up sharply during the six month period
Operating profit at Zurich Insurance's Irish division was up sharply during the six month period

Swiss group Zurich Insurance said its net profit had jumped 14% during the first half of the year, boosted by restructuring. 

The group, which in March announced a restructuring programme, posted a net profit of $2.1bn for the January-June period, meeting analyst expectations. 

The company's operating profit meanwhile rose to $2.6bn during the first half of the year, a 15% increase from the outcome at the same time last year.

The insurer also said it had raked in $37.57bn in new business between January and June, up 4% from a year ago. 

Profit at Zurich’s Irish division was also higher, rising 34.6% during the first six months of the year to €35m.

This was despite a slight fall in the margins made after tax on new business.

The group meanwhile said it had made great strides in a restructuring programme announced in March.

"We have seen clear progress on the execution of our strategy and delivery against our targets," company chief Martin Senn said in the earnings statement.

"While still early in our three year plan, we are on track for our 2014 to 2016 targets," he added. 

Zurich, which counts around 55,000 employees worldwide said its restructuring would affect fewer jobs than the 800 positions previously expected and that most of the 670 job-cuts needed had already been carried out.

"The process is designed to reduce complexity and cost while enhancing agility," the company said.

During the second quarter of the year, Zurich saw its net profit rise 6% to $837m, while its operating profit swelled 32% to $1.2bn.

The group's combined ratio - a measure of how effective insurers are at balancing administrative costs and payouts to clients against premiums paid in - during the second quarter improved by 3.4 percentage points from the April-June period in 2013 to 95.7%.