In the eyes of CEO Mario Greco, the results represented an “outstanding” turnaround.
“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,” he said. “This is a remarkable achievement considering the elevated natural catastrophe losses in the period and the ongoing public health crisis.
“Our first-half performance is the result of the focused execution of our strategy, with contributions from all parts of the business. Our 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. And we added more than 600,000 retail customers during a period of continued uncertainty and restrictions related to the pandemic.”
Much of the result can be attributed to the reduced impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – said to have hit the business for $686 million in the first half of last year, that was cut to $73 million this time around.
Looking at the individual aspects of its business, P&C gross written premiums jumped 12% to $22,034 million, while its life business saw a leap of 8% like-for-like to $14,603 million. Meanwhile, its Farmers business operating profit was the one caveat to the success, slipping slightly from $779 million to $778 million, although Farmers Exchanges did see a 16% jump in GWP.
“As economies emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, Zurich is fitter, faster and more resilient than ever,” concluded Greco. “Our work in the last five years to simplify and strengthen the business, combined with the continuing upturn in commercial insurance pricing, positions us well. I have great confidence in the strength of our business and the skills of our employees to maintain this momentum and deliver on our targets.”