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Zurich first half profits fall 10%

Zurich has reported a 10 per cent drop in business operating profit to £1.43bn for the first six months of 2010 compared with £1.5bn for the same period last year.

The firm has also announced the appointment of Christian Orator as chief administrative officer and member of the group executive committee, succeeding Richard P. Kearns who retires early next year.

Zurich reported total group business volumes, comprising gross written premiums, policy fees, insurance deposits and management fees, of £22bn up 3 per cent from the first half of 2009 or 1 per cent on a local currency basis.

The insurer reported global life and pensions new business values of £247m, up 17 per cent in local currency. It says the increase was partially driven by higher corporate pension sales volumes in the UK.

New business volumes on an annual premium equivalent basis increased by 8 per cent in local currency to £1bn up from £900m last year, reflecting growth in the private banking client solutions, corporate life and pensions and IFA/broker businesses, the firm says.

The firm saw net income drop 16 per cent during the period to £1bn.

Chief executive officer Martin Senn says: “We continued to achieve significant top and bottom-line growth at global life, which underscores the successful execution of our strategy and our increasing focus on the growing protection needs of customers.”

Chief financial officer Dieter Wemmer adds: “The reduction in net income year-on-year also reflects the restatement that we had previously announced in connection with the implementation of a dynamic hedge in the first quarter on a closed US life portfolio. Without the restatement, we would have shown an increase against the £820m of net income as published last year.”

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