Europe's largest insurer Allianz has today posted a forecast-beating rise in third quarter net income due to a good performance across its business classes.

Allianz also said that US bond fund manager Pimco saw inflows for the first time in over three years. 

Quarterly net profit rose 37% from a year earlier to €1.86 billion, above the average forecast of €1.58 billion in a Reuters poll of banks and brokerages. 

Low interest rates have hit insurers' investment returns in recent years and competition has pressured premiums in some market segments. 

"Efforts to develop our business in a very difficult environment are paying off,” the company's chief financial officer Dieter Wemmer said in a trading statement today. 

Allianz confirmed its full-year target for operating profit of €10.5 billion, plus or minus €500m.

Third-quarter operating profit rose 18% to €2.9 billion, compared with a forecast €2.61 billion and nine-month operating profit was €8.01 billion. 

The combined ratio, a measure of underwriting profitability, strengthened to 93.5% from 94.1% a year ago. A level below 100% indicates a profit. 

US bond manager Pimco saw third-party net inflows of €4.7 billion in the third quarter, its first net inflows since the second quarter of 2013. 

Pimco has experienced several years of cash withdrawals in several of its main funds, including its flagship Pimco Total Return Fund. 

Co-founder Bill Gross, known as "the Bond King" during his years at Pimco, left in 2014 for Janus Capital Group.