Anyone who has been keeping track of the wealth of insurance results that have been firing across news-desks over the last couple of weeks will be well aware of the impact insurers have faced from last year’s natural catastrophes. However, one insurance giant seems to have come through the period relatively unscathed – still managing to report a rise in total revenues and operating profit, while proposing a 5% dividend increase.
Allianz Group has announced “strong results” for the full year 2017 – with total revenues up 3.0% to 126.1 billion euros (around £111.9 billion) and operating profit inching up by 0.4% to 11.1 billion euros (around £9.85 billion).
According to the firm it enjoyed improvements across all business segments – albeit the property and casualty segment saw operating profits drop by 7.5% primarily due to the toll of those natural catastrophes. Claims stemming from storms in Europe, as well as the triple hurricanes in the US and the California wildfires, amounted to 1.1 billion euros – a climb from 0.7 billion euros for similar natural events in 2016.
“The Group met its performance targets, maintained an extraordinary level of capital strength and returned three billion euros to shareholders through share buybacks in 2017. These successes are largely due to the impressive efforts of Allianz employees and their pursuit of the goals we set out in our renewal agenda,” said Oliver Bäte, Chief Executive Officer of Allianz SE.
“Allianz also made important strategic strides, including an insurance joint venture in the United Kingdom with LV=, and continued expansion into fast-growing markets like Africa. We also increased our stake in Euler Hermes to over 90%, fortifying our engagement in property and casualty insurance.”
Focusing in on the fourth quarter, it was affected by a series of “one-off factors,” such as the claims from natural catastrophes, prompting operating profit to slip back to 2.8 billion euros. However, total revenues for the period still increased by 5.6% year on year, largely driven by improvements in its life and health segments.
“Hurricanes, storms and wildfires hit the insurance industry hard in 2017, making it the costliest natural catastrophe year ever for the insurance sector,” added Bäte. “We worked quickly to help our customers get back on their feet. This is the most fulfilling part of our business. For natural catastrophes alone, we paid out some 1.1 billion euros in customer benefits.”
Chief financial officer of Allianz SE, Giulio Terzariol, added: “The Group entered 2018 at cruising speed, placing our three-year performance targets within reach. We are confident that Allianz is well positioned to deliver strong financial results again this year. The Group aims to achieve an operating profit of 11.1 billion euros in 2018, plus or minus 500 million euros, barring unforeseen events.”