Earnings

Zurich Insurance books $280 million in the first quarter on coronavirus claims

Key Points
  • "The impact of claims related to the COVID-19 outbreak and the sharp falls in financial markets in the latter part of the first quarter are expected to remain a 2020 earnings event," Chief Financial Officer George Quinn said in a statement.
VIDEO1:4501:45
Cost of coronavirus will be similar to 2017 hurricanes: Zurich Insurance CFO

Zurich Insurance Group on Thursday said property and casualty claims related to the coronavirus pandemic could total around $750 million this year, after booking $280 million such claims in the first quarter.

"The impact of claims related to the COVID-19 outbreak and the sharp falls in financial markets in the latter part of the first quarter are expected to remain a 2020 earnings event," Chief Financial Officer George Quinn said in a statement.

"Group solvency remains strong and together with the diversity of our business and our conservative balance sheet, I am confident that the Group is well placed to manage the current challenges."

Premiums in the P&C business rose 5% on the back of rate increases in North America as well as strong premiums growth in Britain, Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

Life insurance, meanwhile, saw a 24% slump in new business, bringing annual premium equivalents down 19% to $958 million as lockdowns impacted face-to-face sales, particularly in Asia Pacific and Brazil.

The group's solvency ratio tumbled to 101% from 129% under the Swiss owner's own economic modelling but remained within target range.