March 23 (Bloomberg) -- Allianz SE, Europe’s biggest insurer, expects 2012 to be “no less challenging” than last year, Chief Executive Officer Michael Diekmann wrote in a letter to shareholders.
“In our property-casualty segment we expect solid growth, in particular supported by favorable price effects in several markets, as well as an improved operating result,” Diekmann wrote in the annual report published on the Munich-based insurer’s website today. “In Life/Health we believe the revenue level will remain stable and our operating result will slightly increase -- despite the ongoing difficult market conditions.”
Insurers are seeking higher prices for their policies as interest rates near record lows, natural-disaster losses and writedowns on investments related to the sovereign-debt crisis weigh on earnings and capital buffers. Allianz said in the report it “will continue to take action in 2012 in response to the challenging market environment, particularly low interest rates” at its life- and health-insurance units.
Diekmann reiterated a target that Allianz set last month for operating profit of 7.7 billion euros to 8.7 billion euros this year, compared with 7.87 billion euros in 2011.
“Based on current estimates we expect our 2013 operating profit to improve and to be driven again by positive contributions from all operating segments,” Allianz said in the report.
The insurer aims “to maintain our excellent results in asset management,” Diekmann wrote in the letter, adding that in the U.S. and Germany, following a decline in operating profit, “additional measures are needed.”
While the German management plans to “boost growth and earnings in 2012 and subsequent years,” Diekmann wrote Allianz doesn’t expect a strong boost from the market in the U.S. as early as 2012.
To contact the reporter on this story: Oliver Suess in Munich at firstname.lastname@example.org