Swiss Re back in profit in first half of 2021

ZURICH (AFP) – Swiss reinsurance giant Swiss Re on Friday published better-than-expected results for the first half of the year, returning to profits with COVID-19-related compensation claims dwindling.

The insurer for insurers generated a net profit of just over USD1 billion in the first six months of 2021 – against a loss of USD1.1 billion last year – exceeding analysts’ forecasts.

Pandemic-related compensation claim losses fell to USD870 million after swelling to USD2.5 billion in the first half of 2020. The group took a heavy hit last year, notably due to forced event cancellations.

In the first six months of 2021, COVID-19-related losses stemmed primarily from Swiss Re’s life and health reinsurance business with pandemic-related deaths. The division posted a USD119 million loss.

However, these losses decreased markedly over the second quarter and Swiss Re expects the trend to continue further as vaccination roll-outs progress.

A Swiss Re sign outside its building. PHOTO: AFP

The company’s two other major divisions returned to profit with the decrease in claims for compensation related to COVID-19.

Its property and casualty reinsurance division posted a net profit of USD1.2 billion while its corporate solutions section racked up USD262 million, despite expenses related to Winter Storm Uri in the United States (US) in February.

Swiss Re expects COVID-19-related losses in its property and casualty businesses of less than USD200 million for the remainder of 2021.

Early assessments of the July floods in Europe and the social unrest in South Africa currently indicate a “mid-triple-digit-million-dollar loss” for Swiss Re.

“We are very pleased with the improved profitability achieved by the group in the first half of this year,” said Chief Executive Christian Mumenthaler.