Insurer Zurich sees net profit soar

Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Group on Thursday said net profit in the first quarter to March surged 78 percent to a better-than-forecast $1.1 billion (1 billion francs).

The group also said in a statement that its business volume increased 10 percent to $19.6 billion.

The combined ratio, used by insurance companies to indicate how well they are performing in daily operations, improved to 94.6 percent from 103.6 year on year. A ratio below 100 means the company is receiving more money in premiums than paying out in claims.

The net profit figure beat market expectations, with analysts surveyed by the AWP financial agency having predicted it would stand at $1 billion.

The first quarter figures reflected “excellent underwriting performance and a lower level” of major catastrophes and losses, the company said.

“The execution of our strategy continues to be on track. Our acquisitions and alliances have allowed us to deepen our position in several key markets.”

“Last month, we signed a 10-year exclusive distribution agreement to be the provider of wealth insurance products to HSBC clients in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar,” Chief Executive Officer Martin Senn said in the statement.

The company, which in April changed its name from Zurich Financial Services (ZFS), ended 2011 with net profit at $3.8 billion, a 10 percent increase despite a year marked by natural catastrophes, with earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand, severe flooding in Thailand and hurricanes in the United States.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


EXPLAINED: Why you need ‘legal protection insurance’ in Switzerland

Swiss insurance companies offer a variety of services, but the one covering legal disputes is among the most popular ones. This is what you should know about it.

EXPLAINED: Why you need 'legal protection insurance' in Switzerland
Law and order: Legal insurance may make it easier. Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

The Swiss like to be prepared for all kinds of disasters — both real and imaginary.

This is where insurance comes in.

Whether it’s a policy that covers damages inflicted on cars by weasels, or insurance for theft of sleds and skis placed outside a mountain restaurant, people here don’t like to leave anything to chance.

One of the most popular optional coverages — as opposed the health insurance, which is compulsory — is legal protection insurance (Rechtsschutzversicherungen in German, protection juridique in French, and protezione giuridica in Italian).

What is it and what does it cover?

Simply put, it covers attorney and other associated fees if you undertake court action against someone, are sued, or simply need legal advice.

There are two different types of legal protection insurance — one specifically for traffic accidents and the other for all other matters. Sometimes they are combined.

Typically, this insurance covers costs of legal representation associated with contract disputes, employment, loans and debts, healthcare, housing, retail purchases, and travel.

Photo by Rodnae Productions from Pexels

Some carriers also insure cases related to marital law and inheritance.

Most will not cover attorney fees for criminal cases where you are the perpetrator, or financial disputes related to asset management, banking and investment.

Also excluded is legal action related to political or religious activism.

Can you choose your own lawyer or will you have one assigned to you by the insurance company?

Typically, an insurer has a roster of approved attorneys with whom it works. Some allow the client to choose from the list, while  others select one for you.

If your own lawyer is part of your insurer’s roster, you can request he or she represents you, but it is not guaranteed.

How much does this insurance cost?

Fees vary depending on what coverage you need (traffic accidents, general, or combined), whether they have deductibles, and how high they are.

You can compare the premiums by using this link.

Do you actually need this coverage?

As is the case with any optional insurance, you don’t need it until you do.

Generally speaking, and according to online consumer comparison site, “if you require legal consultation at least once every two years, getting personal legal insurance often makes financial sense. Just the legal consultation benefits which you get with some insurance policies can make up for the cost of premiums”.

READ MORE: How much does health insurance cost in Switzerland?