Generali beats expectations by recording a steep rise in profits

ASSICURAZIONI Generali, Europe’s third-largest insurer, posted a five-fold increase in net profit, beating expectations, and said it sees a rise in full-year operating margins and its net result.

Net profit rose to €527m (£452m) compared with analysts estimates of €465m. In April, Italy's largest insurer said first quarter premiums were €20.8bn.

“Excluding any exceptional events, a growth in operating margins and in the net result compared to the 2009 levels are foreseen,” the company said in a statement.

Top banker Cesare Geronzi became Generali’s chairman at the end of April, which this month rejected an antitrust call to halve its 14.76 per cent stake.

In the first quarter, Generali’s non-life combined ratio claims and costs as a proportion of premiums was 98 per cent, easing slightly from 98.3 per cent in the full-year 2009.