Salem Radio Network News Saturday, September 18, 2021

Business

France’s Axa rebounds from pandemic with 180% spike in net income

PARIS (Reuters) -French insurer Axa on Monday posted a 180% surge in net income in the first half as the company rebounded from a spike in pandemic-related claims which led to it booking a 1.5 billion euro ($1.8 billion) charge last year.

Axa, Europe’s second-largest insurer after Allianz, said net profit stood at 3.99 billion euros in the first half, more than double the 1.43 billion euros a year earlier.

It said its company-focused XL Group unit, hit last year by business interruption and event cancellations claims, recorded 619 million euros in underlying income from an 843 million euros loss a year ago.

“Taking advantage of the continued favourable pricing momentum, Axa XL is well positioned to deliver its euro 1.2 billion earnings target in 2021”, Axa Chief Executive Thomas Buberl said in a statement.

Underlying profit rose 93% in the first half to 3.64 billion euros. Excluding last year’s COVID-19 related claims, underlying earnings rose by 12%, Axa added.

“Axa’s results are a clear beat to consensus expectations, with Axa XL’s underlying earnings up +40% (ex-COVID) being a particularly pleasing source of strength”, analysts at Jefferies said in a note.

However, Axa warned that July’s devastating floods in Germany and Belgium will cost it around 0.4 billion euros before tax and net of reinsurance in a preliminary estimate.

The company in June reached a 300 million euro settlement with restaurant owners in France over pandemic-related insurance claims.

Chief Financial Officer Alban de Mailly Nesle said nearly half of the restaurant owners involved have expressed interest in the settlement.

“The campaign is going very well on the ground”, de Mailly told reporters.

In a separate statement, Axa said its board of directors has proposed renewing Buberl’s mandate as board member for a further 4 years.

The proposal will be put to shareholders in April 2022 at the annual general meeting.

Shares in Axa are up 12.14% so far this year.

($1 = 0.8427 euros)

(Reporting by Matthieu Protard; Editing by Kim Coghill, Kirsten Donovan)

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