The company said that strong underlying earnings and a reduced impact from Covid-19 more than compensated for higher losses from extreme weather events. Group Chief Executive Officer Mario Greco said: “We achieved outstanding results in the first six months of 2021 with profits back to the levels of 2019, when we reported our best first half in a decade. This is a remarkable achievement considering the elevated natural catastrophe losses in the period and the ongoing public health crisis.”
Zurich’s combined ratio in property and casualty insurance, now at its lowest in more than 20 years, is ‘testament to the improvements made to underwriting since 2016’, noted Greco. More than 600,000 retail customers were added during a period of continued uncertainty and restrictions related to the pandemic.
Profit margin improved in life insurance
In our Life business, margins improved as we continued to focus on protection and capital-light savings products, while the Farmers Exchanges2 benefited from efforts to diversify and strengthen distribution channels.
Greco continued: “This year’s extreme weather events – from winter storms in the southern United States to the more recent flooding in South East Asia and Europe – underscore society’s vulnerability to the risks of climate change and the need for businesses to take action. We are supporting our customers with new services to improve resilience to climate risks and are acting to mitigate the climate impact of our activities. In March, we announced intermediate emissions targets for our operations and investments in real estate, corporate credit and equities, as we set the Group on a course to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.”