Profits dip for insurance giants

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Two of the world’s most prominent insurers have announced their latest results: one witnessing plunging profits and the other posting profits short of projected targets.

Zurich said reported its second-quarter profit declined 19% after a gain in the year-earlier period from selling a stake in New China Life Insurance.

Net income fell to $1.08 billion from $1.33 billion a year earlier. That compares to the $994 million average estimate of 16 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

“We have a lower investment income which is a factor for the lower income in the second quarter,” chief financial officer Pierre Wauthier said on a conference call. “This is reflecting the low interest rate environment.”

However, QBE reported more encouraging figures 13% rise in first-half net profit, but were still short of their forecast and that has hammered its share price.

The profit rise for the half year to June 30 came despite a 2% dip in revenues to $8.9 billion compared with the same period a year ago. QBE shares plunged in early trading, losing $1.51, or 11 per cent, to $12.15 to a two-month low.

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