LONDON – Zurich Insurance could exceed its targets for the 2022 financial year as the business has performed well during the COVID-19 pandemic, CEO Mario Greco said on Wednesday.
Europe’s fifth-largest insurer set out ambitious three-year targets in Nov 2019, including raising its target for business operating profit after tax return on equity (BOPATROE) to more than 14% from the previous goal of more than 12%.
“We’re fully in the race to deliver to shareholders all our targets for 2022… we can even exceed those targets,” Greco told Reuters Breakingviews in an interview.
Insurers were gloomy about the outlook for the industry when the coronavirus outbreak took hold in early 2020. But they have remained profitable after excluding COVID-19 from many policies and raising premiums.
Greco said the commercial insurance business in particular was likely to see strong growth this year, helped both by rising premium rates and by increasing demand for cover.
Traditional markets such as Germany and Switzerland as well as emerging markets such as Brazil and Indonesia provided growth opportunities, he said.
But growth would not necessarily come via acquisition, he added.
“If you need to transform yourself, acquiring a business which needs transformation is not a great solution. In general, we don’t think the solution to this is acquisition, it’s providing the customers with what they need.”
Zurich will report full year 2021 results on Feb. 10.