Insurer’s combined operating ratio rises to 105% in wake of floods

Zurich’s UK General Insurance business has reported a decline in operating profits of 72 per cent to £91m.

In 2007, the insurer recorded premiums of £2.06bn, down a fraction on £2.065bn the previous year.

The insurer’s combined operating ratio slipped to 104.8 per cent, almost 8 per cent more than its global business, which reported record results yesterday.

In a statement it said that despite tough market conditions, ongoing pressure on pricing, and the impact of the January storms and the floods in June and July, the UK General Insurance business had “delivered a strong underlying performance.”

It said it had made a significant contribution to the European General Insurance Division’s overall results as a result of “excellent operating performances from all business segments”, adding that its decline in premium was the result of a decline in the size of the market overall, and that it had maintained its position as the fifth largest insurer in the UK.

Guy Munnoch, Chief Executive Officer of Zurich’s UK General Insurance business said: “Clearly 2007 was a challenging year, not only for Zurich, but for the UK insurance industry as a whole, however our strong GWP result reflects our commitment to deliver sustainable profitable growth.”

“We remain focussed on financial discipline and pricing integrity and we will grow our business by developing propositions that meet the needs of customers and distributors. We will continue to attract and retain the right people with the knowledge and expertise that will help us deliver our plans.”