Windstorms will hit this year’s profits but growth by 2011

European windstorms at the start of this year will hit operating profit at Allianz Re unit in 2009, Chief Executive Clemens von Weichs said, Reuters and Bloomberg report.

"There will be difficulties to reach the result seen in 2008," he said.

The unit, which gets 80% of its business by providing reinsurance risk cover to parent Allianz, posted operating profit of €495m on gross premiums of €3.8bn in 2008.

Von Weichs said he expected premiums to rise to around €3.9bn to €4.0bn this year and the unit is targeting average growth of 10% in gross premiums and operating profit by 2011, compared with the average of the 2006-2008, by boosting the efficiency of capital use within the group.

"Our priority is to support the Allianz group rather than grow at any price," von Weichs said, adding that Allianz Re was the world's eighth-biggest reinsurer by premiums.

"The trend towards premium prices cannot be stopped," said von Weichs, who served as chief executive of Allianz's credit insurer Euler Hermes from 2004 until March of this year.

Von Weichs said Allianz plans no further catastrophe bonds this year but left open whether fresh securitisations could take place in 2010.

"Our catastrophe cover is sufficient for the moment. We will look again at the situation next year," he said.