(Bloomberg) -- Zurich Insurance Group AG said second-quarter profit fell 12 percent as pressure on premiums makes it difficult for the industry to maintain profitability.

Net income declined to $739 million from $840 million a year earlier, Zurich said in a statement on Thursday. That beat the $646 million estimate of eight analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Zurich, like other European insurers, has struggled to become more profitable because of slow economic growth, stricter regulatory requirements and record-low interest rates. Chief Executive Officer Mario Greco is trying to make the company more efficient by cutting jobs, selling assets and combining the biggest units, global life and general insurance.

Zurich has declined 6 percent in Zurich trading this year, while the Bloomberg Europe 500 Insurance Index has lost 18 percent.

--With assistance from Jeffrey Vögeli To contact the reporter on this story: Jan-Henrik Förster in Zurich at To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simone Meier at, Ross Larsen, Neil Callanan

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