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Zurich's profits rise as European insurance companies recover from COVID-19



(Reuters) -Zurich Insurance Group joined forces with other major European insurance companies on Thursday to report a strong recovery in revenue as the effects of COVID-19 on their companies diminished.

Floating markets combined with higher insurance helped insurance companies to recover after a tough year in 2020.

In the Netherlands, NN Group reported a doubling of its first half year, while Aegon recovered from a loss a year earlier to book a second quarter net profit of EUR 849 million ($ 996.13 million).

Zurich shares rose by about 3%, while Aegon rose by 6% and NN rose by 2.4%.

Zurich's operating profit rose 60% to $ 2.7 billion in the first half of 2021

, compared to expectations for the first half of the year's operating profit of about $ 2.5 billion, based on a company's consolidated agreement.

Zurich CEO Mario Greco had told Reuters in June that Europe's fifth largest insurance company expected a "strong recovery" in profits in 2021.

"We achieved outstanding results in the first six months of 2021 with profits returning to levels 2019, when we reported our best first half of a decade, "Greco said in a statement.

" This is a remarkable achievement given the heightened natural disaster losses during the period and the ongoing public health crisis.

The group's chief financial officer, George Quinn, said Zurich's exposure to last month's severe German floods was around $ 150 million to $ 200 million, although he said the claim process was still at an early stage.

Zurich's net profit to shareholders rose 86% to $ 2.19 billion due to increased operating profit and higher realized capital gains.

The Swiss company received $ 73 million in operating profit from COVID-19, a decrease from $ 686 million in the first half of 2020.

Higher mortality-related claims in life insurance offset a net beneficial impact on property / accident, where reduced claims frequency in associated with COVID-19 restrictions more than offset COVID-19-related claims, it said.

It saw significant increases in commercial business in all regions, and these trends are expected to continue in the second half of the year. Catalog

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