Zurich Insurance Group share price plummets after posting s a "disappointing result" for 2015 and earlier Storm Frank warning

Hayley Kirton
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Mario Greco will now be taking up his position as chief executive earlier than expected (Source: Getty)

Shares in Zurich Insurance Group dropped this morning after the company posted a "disappointing result" for its full-year ending December 2015.

The insurer reported a business operating profit of $2.9bn (£2bn) for the year, down 37 per cent from $4.6bn the year before, and a net income attributable to shareholders of $1.8bn, down 53 per cent from $3.9bn.

The Swiss company also performed poorly in its fourth quarter, reporting a business operating profit of $422m, down 48 per cent from $812m the year before, and a net loss of $424m, down 149 per cent from a net income of $860m.

"This is a disappointing result, reflecting the previously announced challenges in our general insurance business and restructuring charges, and we have taken rigorous actions to improve profitability," said Zurich's interim chief executive Tom de Swaan.

"This includes re-underwriting or exiting unprofitable portfolios, increasing cost efficiency and further simplifying the organisation. The remainder of the group continues to perform well, with both global life and farmers making further progress in the execution of their strategies."

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Shares in the company, which is listed on the Swiss Exchange, were trading down 4.7 per cent at SFr195.8 just before 9:30am London time.

Last month, the insurer revealed that it had been badly affected by claims for damage caused by Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank, warning that its losses from the adverse winter weather could reach $275m.

Zurich also revealed today that incoming chief executive Mario Greco would now be taking up his role earlier than expected on 7 March. Greco, formerly the chief executive of Italian insurance company Generali, was originally due to take up the role on 1 May.

De Swaan has been leading the company as interim chief since Martin Senn stepped down in December last year after 10 years with the company.

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