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Allianz profit jumps due to life insurance

ALLIANZ, Europe&rsquo;s biggest insurer, yesterday reported better-than-expected results for the third quarter, thanks to strong trading in life insurance and asset management. <br /><br />And the firm said it was well-placed to capitalise on the improving global economy as it posted a 23 per cent jump in operating profit. <br /><br />But despite the strong results, the insurer refused to give a forecast for the full year &ndash; which ends in a matter of weeks &ndash; due to market volatility and the possibility of a surge in large claims from winter storms. It also shied away from giving guidance for 2010. <br /><br />Allianz reported quarterly operating profit of &euro;1.93bn (&pound;1.73bn), above the average forecast of &euro;1.8bn in a Reuters poll of 18 analysts.<br /><br />It also swung to a quarterly net profit of &euro;1.3bn, above the &euro;1.2bn expected in the poll, from a &euro;2bn loss in the third quarter of 2008 when it sold its unprofitable Dresdner Bank unit to Commerzbank.<br /><br />The insurer said economic weakness was still hitting demand in the broader insurance market, a trend underscored by a drop in operating profit of nearly a fifth in its main business of property and casualty insurance.<br /><br />Analysts said Allianz had delivered a solid set of figures and hailed the insurer's ability to pad its capital cushion in the third quarter. &ldquo;Allianz is currently one of the best capitalised insurers with a significantly reduced risk profile,&rdquo; WestLB analyst Andreas Schaefer wrote in a note to clients.<br /><br />Chief financial officer Oliver Baete said Allianz had no plans for either acquisitions or a capital hike, adding that it planned to stick to its policy of paying out 40 per cent of net profit in dividends.<br />