"Growth was driven by an underlying improvement across all businesses and reduced claims from COVID-19, which more than offset higher levels of natural catastrophe and weather-related claims", as Zurich representatives pointed out in a statement.
In the first half of 2021, the impact of COVID-19 on business operating profit was USD 73 million compared with USD 686 million in the first half of 2020.
"In 2021, higher mortality-related claims across the Group's life insurance business offset a net favorable impact in property and casualty. The favorable impact in P&C was due to reduced claims frequency associated with COVID-19 restrictions, which more than compensated for COVID-19 related claims".
P&C gross written premiums and policy fees increased 16% y-o-y to USD 22.03 billion, while business operating profit was up by 108% to USD 1.55 billion. The Group achieved a combined ratio of 93.9%, the lowest level in more than 20 years and six percentage points below the prior-year period, despite higher-than-normal catastrophe and weather-related claims.
The Group's Life business totaled USD 14.60 billion (vs. USD 13 billion in H1 2020), while BOP increased by 44% y-o-y to USD 802 million, despite a slightly higher impact from COVID-19 of USD 137 million.
Gross written premiums of the Farmers Exchanges increased 16% in the first half of the year to USD 11.72 billion, while the combined ratio increased 3.2 percentage points to 104.8%, mainly driven by an increase in catastrophe losses from winter storm Uri in the southern United States. Farmers BOP of USD 778 million was flat compared to the prior-year period.