EUROPE - Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services saw overall sales of life and pensions grow by only 3% to £3.8bn in its UK, Irish, and international businesses.
The firm’s figures were up only marginally on last year to £3.8bn. On an annual premium equivalent (APE) basis - an industry measure calculated as new regular premiums plus one tenth of single premiums - new business premiums were also up by only 2% to £629m.
The figures meant that Zurich lagged behind other insurers who posted double-digit rises for the year, including Britannic and Prudential.
On a regional basis UK pensions new business premiums were up 10% to £224m; Ireland grew 16% to £45m on an APE basis, and Zurich International Solutions, the group’s offshore business, saw an 8% rise to £81m for all business done outside the UK.
Ray Greenshield, chief executive of Zurich’s life business for the UK, Ireland and International, described the year as one of “transformation” for the firm, but added remained resolute that the firm has “the distribution reach, customer focus and financial strength to continue to grow our future business in the future.”
The figures add to Zurich’s recent woes; the firm said in December that it expected to report an overall net loss of up to $400m for 2001. Zurich cited a number of factors including the September 11 attacks, asset impairment charges, lower investment income, higher than expected non-life insurance claims and the deterioration in the results of discontinued operations. The 2001 net income is now expected to be between $700m and $900m.
Full 2001 results will be released on March 21.
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