German insurance giant Allianz has cited higher claims from companies disrupted by Covid lockdowns as a reason for the first fall in its annual operating profit in nearly 10 years. The company said lower demand for car and travel insurance played a part also.
Allianz is one of 12 insurers in Ireland recently contacted by more than 420 restaurants and bars seeking payouts on business interruption policies due to forced closure during the pandemic.
The door was opened to such claims when, earlier this month, the High Court ruled in favour of four pubs in a test case against FBD.
Operating profit fell 9.3% to €10.75bn in Allianz's first decline since 2011 when it was hit with claims from a tsunami in Japan and write-offs during the European debt crisis. The company aims to achieve a 2021 operating profit of €12bn, plus or minus €1bn.
“We are, hence, in a good position to deliver on our 2021 ambition,” CEO Oliver Baete said. Fourth-quarter net profit of €1.82bn topped the €1.75bn expected by analysts.
“In our view, Allianz’s release reads surprisingly positively,” Jefferies analysts wrote in a research note.
- Additional reporting Reuters