Coronavirus | Europe's biggest insurer Allianz beats profit forecast

208
2
Coronavirus | Europe's biggest insurer Allianz beats profit forecast

Flags with the logo of Allianz SE, Europe's biggest insurer, are pictured at the year-end shareholders meeting in Munich.

FRANKFURT - Allianz made a better-than-expected 46% jump in second-quarter net profit on Friday and held a rosier outlook for full year as it emerges from pressure on business caused by coronavirus pandemic.

Net profit attributable to shareholders of 2.225 billion euros in the three months through June compares with 1.528 billion euros a year earlier. The figure beat a 2.055 billion euro forecast by the economists.

More optimistic about the outlook for this year, the company said it now expects operating profit in 2021 to be in the upper half of a range of between 11 billion and 13 billion euros.

We are confident about the second half of 2021, says Giulio Terzariol, chief financial officer.

Last year, the insurer abandoned its profit target due to financial uncertainty resulting from the pandemic and posted its first loss of operating profit in nearly a decade.

Allianz, like other insurers, faced clients making claims for cancellation claims and closed events from lockdowns while demand for car and travel insurance fell.

In another sign of a return to normal times for the insurance group, Allianz announced on Thursday plans to buy back up to 750 million euros worth of shares by the end of the year, after cancelling a buyback halfway through due to the pandemic.

The group has done several major buyback programmes since 2017 and has invested a total of 8.25 billion euros on its own stocks.

Allianz provided a bit more detail as to how the U.S. Department of Justice investigated the losses it had at its fund management division.

It said on Friday that the DOJ had also requested information from certain former and current AllianzGI U.S. employees.

Allianz reiterated that it was cooperating, as revealed in the October 2011 investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The DOJ and SEC investigations follow lawsuits by U.S. investors claiming close to $6 billion in losses from a family of funds, saying Allianz failed to safeguard their investments during coronavirus market meltdown.