Insurer Zurich posts 32% slump in Q1 net profit

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Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services Thursday said first quarter net profits had slumped 32 percent to $637 million (429 million euros).

The figure fell short of market expectations, which had been for net profit of $723 million.

The company said the three months had been marked by natural disasters in Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

"The slow economic recovery in the US and much of Europe also impacted results," said a company statement.

"In a quarter marked by natural catastrophes, Zurich again delivered a solid underlying operating performance," chief executive Martin Senn said.

But an alliance in Latin America with Banco Santander, announced February, will give them access to new markets in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, he added.

-- The Dow Jones Newswire contributed to this report --

© 2011 AFP

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