Zurich Insurance announces US$1.25 billion buyback after record profit

ZURICH Insurance posted a greater than anticipated annual working revenue on Thursday (Feb 22) and introduced a share buyback of as much as US$1.25 billion, as insurers experience out the influence of a world pandemic, wars and local weather disasters.

Operating revenue at Europe’s fifth-largest insurer rose 21 per cent to a document US$7.4 billion for the 12 months to Dec 31, beating the US$7.1 billion common estimate in an analyst ballot compiled by the corporate.

Insurers have coped nicely with surprising claims in recent times from points comparable to Covid-19, pure catastrophes and the warfare in Ukraine, primarily by elevating premiums and excluding some enterprise.

However, they face additional dangers of warfare or damage-related losses this 12 months from any broader fall-out from the Israel-Gaza battle and from elections in lots of international locations, together with the United States. Climate change can be contributing to higher losses from hurricanes and wildfires.

“It’s been a pretty unstable world for quite a long time, the group has been very resilient through that,” chief monetary officer George Quinn instructed a media name.

“There’s no reason to expect any of that to change.”

Zurich final 12 months set extra bold three-year monetary targets, together with a 2025 aim for enterprise working revenue after tax return on fairness (BOPAT ROE) of greater than 20 per cent. BOPAT ROE for 2023 got here in at 23.1 per cent.

“One year into the three-year plan, we are beating or running to beat all the targets for 2025,” chief govt Mario Greco stated on a media name.

Zurich raised its steering for compound annual EPS development to greater than 10 per cent, in contrast with its authentic goal of 8 per cent.

Rival AXA on Thursday set new targets, together with estimated compound annual development in underlying earnings per share of 6-8 per cent for the 2023-2026 interval.

Greco stated that Zurich would “reconsider the opportunities” for its German life again guide after its plan to dump the US$20 billion portfolio to Viridium Holding fell by final month.

Zurich stated it deliberate to extend its dividend by 8 per cent to 26 Swiss francs (S$39.75) per share. REUTERS