German insurer Allianz said it was on track to meet its 2018 goals as it posted a forecast-beating 6.8% rise in first quarter net profit, lifted by higher investment results and lower tax rates. 

Net profit of €1.939 billion was better than the £1.787 billion forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll and above the €1.816 billion earned during the same time last year. 

Allianz and the insurance industry is bouncing back from a difficult 2017 that was marked by a spate of natural disasters in North America which resulted in record payouts to customers. 

"This good performance puts Allianz on track to meet its 2018 yearly targets," Oliver Baete, chief executive officer of Allianz, said. 

Baete said last week operating profit would be similar to the €11.1 billion the insurer posted in 2017, or possibly €500m more or less than that. 

He also said that Allianz was cautious in its outlook given global economic uncertainties and the strong euro. 

The combined ratio, a measure of profitability, improved in the first quarter by 0.8 percentage point to 94.8%. Allianz also said that lower restructuring costs helped its bottom line in the quarter.