Generali bullish for full-year as sales boosted

ASSICURAZIONI Generali, Europe’s third-largest insurer, posted a 73 per cent rise in net profit yesterday, boosted by life insurance, and forecast a rise in full-year results.

Italy’s largest insurer’s net profit was €873m (£723.5m), in line with consensus analyst forecasts of €869m.

“A growth in operating margins and in net results, compared with 2009, is forecast,” it said in a statement on the outlook.

Generali joins the trend of European insurers benefiting from improved life insurance sales, signalling that recessionary pressures may be easing and providing a counterpoint to sharply higher disaster claims.

Chairman Cesare Geronzi, appointed in April as part of a corporate governance deal between shareholders, said governance can be sharpened while profitability can be increased.

Premiums rose 9.1 per cent to €38bn, including a 13.3 per cent rise in life insurance premiums to €26.4bn.

In the non-life sector, the combined ratio – claims and costs as a percentage of premiums indicating how well operations are performing on a daily basis – fell 0.9 percentage points, from a year earlier to 98.8 per cent.