Swiss Life profits surge ahead of forecasts

Insurance giant Swiss Life on Wednesday posted a near 30-percent rise in net profits for the first half of 2013 from the same period a year earlier, attributing the boost to a solid performance in all areas and to strict management of margins.

Swiss Life profits surge ahead of forecasts
Photo: Swiss Life

The group also said it was "on track" with its cost-cutting programme "Swiss Life 2015" which is aimed at saving it between 130 million francs ($140 million) to 160 million francs.

In the first six months of 2013, the insurer earned a better-than-expected profit of 472 million francs, up significantly from the 365 million francs recorded in the first half of 2012.

Net earned premiums jumped to 7.8 billion francs compared with 7.3 billion francs a year ago.

Analysts polled by Swiss financial newswire AWP had expected a much lower net profit of 369 million francs, causing the company's share to surge by three percent to 178.40 francs in afternoon trade on the Swiss stock exchange.

Swiss Life managing director Bruno Pfister said the strong results also reflected successful investments and an improvement in the company's operational effectiveness.

"All market units are growing in terms of both premium income and their contribution to the group result," he said.

"Thanks to strict margin management and further improvements in the product mix, we increased the new business margin from 1.4 percent at the end of 2012 to two percent at half-year 2013," he said.

The company said that in Switzerland, where the group generates more than two-thirds of its revenues, it posted a premium income growth of five percent, while in France — which is its key market abroad — premium volumes rose by eight percent.

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