Zurich EMEA premium falls after reductions in three countries
Zurich’s UK general insurance business contributed to a 2% underlying fall in the group’s non-life premium for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in the first nine months of 2017.
Zurich said in a trading update for the first nine months of 2017 this morning that EMEA non-life gross written premiums were $10.97bn (£8.36bn) – down 7% on the $11.77bn it reported in the first nine months of 2016.
Most of the fall was caused by disposals in South Africa, Morocco and the Middle East, but excluding this, the Zurich EMEA premium drop for non-life was 2%.
The insurer said this drop was caused by “reductions in Germany, the UK and Spain”.
At group level, Zurich’s non-life gross written premiums were down 2$ to $25.34bn (nine months 2016: $25.75bn).
But it added that gross written premiums rose 1% when stripping out foreign exchange, acquisitions and disposals.
The insurer is also hoping for further rate increases triggered by the heavy run of natural catastrophe claims in the third quarter of 2017. Zurich’s non-life business recorded rate rises of 1% in the first nine months of 2017.
The insurer announced last month that it is expecting $700m of claims in the third quarter from the string of natural catastrophes, including hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, which it expects to result in a $620m after-tax hit to results.
Zurich group chief financial officer George Quinn said: “I am pleased with the development of our businesses in the year to date, particularly against a challenging industry backdrop in the third quarter. We expect the third quarter natural catastrophe events to drive improvements in pricing across our business.”