German insurer Allianz stands by 2011 earnings target

12th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

The biggest European insurance group, Allianz, Thursday stuck with its full-year forecast even though first quarter results were hit by a triplet of Asian disasters.

Net group profit fell by 45.2 percent to 857 million euros ($1.2 billion), the insurance company said in a statement that added to provisional figures released last week.

"Despite the difficult operating environment Allianz remains on track to reach its operating profit target for 2011 of eight billion euros, plus or minus 0.5 billion euros," Allianz said.

Finance director Oliver Baete was quoted as saying that "for Allianz, the past quarter took one of the hardest hits from natural catastrophes of any quarter in the last two decades."

In addition to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the group was exposed to losses from devastating floods and a typhoon in Australia in January and February, and an earthquake in New Zealand in late February.

It faced costs from those catastrophes of 737 million euros in the three month period, roughly one third more than in the same period of 2010.

First quarter sales fell by 2.2 percent to 29.9 billion euros and Allianz's operating profit was 4.2 percent lower at 1.66 billion euros.

Insurers and re-insurers worldwide have told a similar story as the string of disasters slammed first quarter results.

In Japan alone, the government has estimated that direct damage from the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami, which also triggered the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl 25 years ago, could reach $300 billion.

© 2011 AFP

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