Reinsurer Swiss Re has reported net income of $4.2 billion (CHF3.9 billion) for 2012, an almost 60 per cent increase over 2011, when it earned $2.6 billion. Analysts had predicted a profit of $3.65 billion.
The increase in full-year earnings for the company was attributed to a 22 per cent increase in property and casualty reinsurance premiums, increased margins, investment gains, and the release of cash set aside for claims that did not materialise.
The company on Thursday said it would propose a 17 per cent increase in its dividend, to CHF3.50 a share, and a special shareholder dividend of CHF4 per share.
Swiss Re, the world’s second largest reinsurer, had a profit in 2012 despite costs of circa $900 million for Hurricane Sandy. These outlays were modest compared with 2011, when it was faced with paying billions of dollars of compensation for natural disasteres that occurred in Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
Swiss Re Chief Executive Michael Lies said the company was on track to achieve its 2011-2015 financial targets.
The company will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2013.