Zurich Net Income Up 10% for Year; Company to Propose Name Change

NU Online News Service, Feb. 16, 1:04 p.m. EST

Zurich Financial Services Group says its 2011 fourth-quarter net income fell 46 percent to $557 million, but the company’s net income for the year climbed 10 percent to $3.8 billion.

Zurich’s Chief Executive Officer Martin Senn also says the company has proposed changing its name from Zurich Financial Services Ltd. to Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. “in recognition of the fact that Zurich’s strategic focus has been on insurance for several years....”

Senn says the proposed name change will be made to shareholders at the company’s Annual General Meeting on March 29. 

On the company’s financial results, Senn says in a statement, “We delivered a good result in a year characterized by natural catastrophes....”

He adds that the catastrophes “continued during the fourth quarter with flooding in Thailand and aftershocks in New Zealand.”

For Zurich’s general insurance segment, operating profit decreased 15 percent for the year to $2.3 billion, while gross written premiums and policy fees increased by 5 percent to $34.6 billion. The combined ratio climbed by 0.9 points to 98.8.

Zurich says, “The sustained focus on profitability has continued to produce strong improvements in the underlying loss ratio, but these improvements were more than offset by the exceptional frequency and overall severity of catastrophe and significant weather-related loss events.”

Zurich says management fees and other related revenues from Farmers Management Services were flat despite lower revenues from the runoff of the 21st Century agency auto book of business in the Farmers Exchanges.

Farmers business operating profit fell 12 percent for the year to $1.5 billion.

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