Swiss Re, the world’s second largest reinsurer, has reported profits of $1.1 billion (SFr1 billion) for the first quarter, driven in part by lower-than-expected claims for major natural disasters. The result compares to a loss of $655 million for the same period in 2011.
In a statement on Friday, Swiss Re said strong underwriting and good investment performance had also contributed to the positive result. Across the group, premiums earned increased by 21.7 per cent to $6.2 billion compared with $5.1 billion a year earlier and was driven recently by strong renewals, the company said.
The reinsurance division reported profits of $660 million compared with a $632 million loss a year earlier, which was due in part to a “benign natural catastrophe experience”. In 2011, Swiss Re was hit by charges related to flooding in Australia and as well as earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand.
Reinsurance premiums earned increased by 38.2 per cent to $3.1 billion in the first quarter, driven by successful renewals in January, the company said.
“We had a good start to the year with a very strong result in the first quarter,” said CEO of the Zurich-based company, Michel Liès.
“This reflects our ability to perform and grow as prices rise and an excellent asset management result. But we also benefited from an absence of major claims from natural catastrophes. All business units contributed to this result. Going forward, we will now seek to reap the benefits of our cycle management, with a focus on profitable growth.”