Zurich 2021 operating profit rises 35%, to meet or exceed 2022 targets

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Net income attributable to shareholders rose 36% to $5.2 billion, Europe’s fifth-largest insurer said in a statement.

Group operating profit and net income were the insurer’s best showing since 2007, helped by strong performance in commercial insurance and reduced claims from COVID-19.

Life business operating profit rose 27% to $1.8 billion.

Insurers were gloomy about the outlook for the industry when the coronavirus outbreak took hold in early 2020. But they have remained profitable after excluding COVID-19 from many policies and raising premiums.

“Zurich has delivered the strongest performance in a long time, demonstrating the strength of our franchise, the quality and commitment of our people, and the benefits of repositioning the business in recent years,” CEO Mario Greco said, adding he had “every confidence we will meet or exceed our 2022 targets”.

Zurich set out three-year targets in November 2019, including raising its target for business operating profit after tax return on equity (BOPAT ROE) to more than 14% from the previous goal of more than 12%.

Business operating profit for 2021 was forecast at $5.5 billion, according to a company-compiled consensus forecast, while net income attributable to shareholders had been seen at $4.3 billion.

Zurich’s Swiss Solvency Test (SST) ratio came in at 212% against a forecast 210%.

Zurich proposed a dividend of 22 Swiss francs per share, a rise of 10% on the previous year.