The group described its performance as the “best first-half results in a decade”.
Tough market conditions
Currency fluctuations had a significant impact, with the insurer saying that the profit declines can be attributed to the strengthening of the US dollar in the first half of 2018, currency movements and by lower exchange rates against the US dollar as well.
Across it’s life business, Zurich recording an 8% drop in profits in US dollar terms.
But on a like-for-like basis, profits rose by 2%.
Similarly, annual premium equivalent (APE) was down 3% in US dollar terms, but up 4% like-for-like.
Overall, gross written premiums, policy fees and insurance deposits went up by 13% on a like-for-like basis to £18.1bn, from £16.9bn in H1 2018.
Underlying growth in Emea and reduced loss in North America made up for profit declines in Asia Pacific and Latin America.
But Zurich’s US life subsidiary, Farmers, reported a significant decline in new business value (-31%) and annual premium equivalent (-13%), despite 7% growth in operating profit.
Mario Greco, group chief executive at Zurich, said: “In 2016, we gave ourselves ambitious targets and we launched a bold new strategy. Today, we are proud to report that we are set to exceed all our targets and that the strategy is proving successful.
“Over the last three years, we have made substantial improvements in our business mix, reduced volatility and improved the profitability of our property & casualty portfolios while further growing our life franchise through targeted acquisitions.
“In the first half, a number of new distribution agreements have given more than 10 million additional customers worldwide access to our wide range of innovative products and services.”
One of these agreements relates to the acquisition of Australian insurer OnePath Life.
That was not the only Australian development, however. Zurich also rolled out LiveWell, an app designed to support the firm’s clients with their mental and physical wellbeing.