COR improved to 93.9%

Zurich’s global general insurance (GI) business made an operating profit of $845m (£502.6m) in the first quarter of 2014, up 5% on the $807m it made in the same period last year.

The boost came despite gross written premiums and policy fees remaining almost flat, at $10.6bn (Q1 2013: £10.7bn).

Zurich’s net underwriting result in GI increased by $89m to $456m. The combined operating ratio (COR) improved by 1.1 percentage point to 93.9% (Q1 2013: 94.9%).

Zurich chief financial officer George Quinn attributed the GI COR improvement to “a relatively benign catastrophe environment and a one-off pension gain”.

Group-wide operating profit increased 2% to $1.38bn (Q1 2013: $1.35bn), and net profit after tax jumped 20% to $1.3bn (Q1 2013: $1.1bn).

Quinn said:  “This is a solid start to the year. We see some early positive signs in the execution of our strategic targets for 2014 to 2016, but there is still much to do.”