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By Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi
ZURICH, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Zurich Insurance posted a 2 percent rise in nine-month property and casualty premiums and confirmed its financial targets on Thursday despite a hit from larger-than-expected natural catastrophe losses.
“We are pleased with the development of our businesses over the first nine months of the year and are on track to achieve our 2017-2019 financial targets,” Chief Financial Officer George Quinn said in a statement.
“Life continues to perform very strongly, while the Farmers Exchanges are seeing good momentum in key customer metrics and underlying profitability. In property & casualty we continue to focus on profitability over volumes in what remains a challenging environment.”
Gross written premiums in property and casualty rose to $25.87 billion through September. On a like-for-like business, however, premiums were flat.
Insurers across the globe have been restructuring their businesses to cope with competitive and regulatory pressures, including pricing pressures, and last year’s record losses from natural disasters.
Zurich said it increased rates in its P&C business by 3 percent overall in the first nine months. In its life insurance business, annual premium equivalents rose 3 percent to $3.57 billion.
Zurich, Europe’s fifth-largest insurer, said it has entered an agreement to sell Zurich Seguros S.A. in Venezuela, from which it expects to see a negative currency translation adjustment of around $258 million.
Zurich reported a forecast-beating 19 percent rise in first-half profit.
The group does not report nine-month profit figures, but said on Thursday weather and natural catastrophe losses had been slightly above expected levels. It expected losses of approximately $175 million from Hurricane Michael in the fourth quarter. (Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Maria Sheahan)