Allianz Quarterly Profit Gain Lifts CEO's Slimmed-Down Approach

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  • Below-average natural catastrophe claims help boost earnings
  • Insurer cutting costs and jobs to fend off low rates, prices

As Allianz SE Chief Executive Officer Oliver Baete slims down the insurer to cut costs, rising second-quarter profit helped by lower natural disaster-claims rewarded his strategy.

Operating profit jumped 23 percent to 2.9 billion euros ($3.4 billion), Europe’s largest insurer said in a statement on Wednesday. The company expects full-year profit near the upper end of its range of 10.3 billion euros to 11.3 billion euros, it said.

Under Baete, 52, Allianz is cutting jobs, selling less profitable units and seeks to automate more of its business to generate productivity gains after stemming outflows at its Pacific Investment Management Co. unit. While insurer earnings are under pressure from low interest rates, subdued prices and increased regulation, the industry benefited from lower-than-average claims from natural disasters in the first half.

Operating profit at the property and casualty unit, Allianz’s most important in terms of earnings, rose 28 percent in the quarter. The unit’s spending on claims and other costs as a percentage of premiums, known as the combined ratio, improved to 93.7 percent from 96.4 percent a year ago as claims from natural catastrophes fell to about 1 percent from 4.4 percent, the insurer said in the statement.

At the asset-management unit, which comprises Pimco and Allianz Global Investors, operating profit advanced by 17 percent to 584 million euros. Third-party assets under management increased by 7.6 percent to 1.4 trillion euros while net third party asset inflows reached 55 billion euros.

The shares have climbed about 14 percent this year, giving the company a market value of about 81 billion euros. Allianz will publish detailed second-quarter results on Aug. 4.

— With assistance by Katherine Chiglinsky

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