German insurance holding company group Talanx, the majority owner of Hannover Re and HDI Gerling, has confirmed its 2015 target guidance of at least €700m in group net profit in 2015.
Talanx reported net attributable income of €251m for the first quarter of 2015, up from €216m in the same period last year. Gross written premiums (GWP) were €9.44bn, up from 12.2% from the €8.41bn recorded in Q1 2014.
The combined ratio for primary property-casualty business was 97.3%, up from 94.0%, while in non-life reinsurance the ratio was 95.9%, up from 94.5%
Earnings per share for the quarter rose to €0.99 from €0.86 in Q1 2014.
The 12.2% increase in GWP was helped significantly by the depreciation of the euro, with the constant exchange rate growth rate coming in at 6.8%.
Talanx AG CEO Herbert Haas said: "Our pleasing business performance in the first quarter of 2015 is a clear sign that our diversification and internationalisation strategy is bearing fruit".
Haas said that Talanx had incurred catastrophe losses of €156m losses in Q1, up from €41m in the same period last year. Q1 was dominated by losses as a result of windstorm Niklas, the Germanwings flight 4U9525 disaster, and several fire losses in the Industrial Lines division.
In primary insurance major losses rose to €94m, from €10m in Q1 2014. In reinsurance the loss was €62m, up from €31m. Talanx said that the €156m total was within its forecast major loss budget of about €230m.
Talanx group is destined to record a technical underwriting loss because German life assurance customers can participate in investment income. That reduces the underwriting result under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) The underwriting loss in the latest quarter was €389m, up from €370m in Q1 2014.
Return on equity in 2015 is expected to be in the region of 9%, with between 35% and 45% of Group net income being distributed as a dividend payment.
Talanx's brands include HDI, which operates in Germany and abroad, global industrial insurer HDI-Gerling, Hannover Re, Targo Versicherungen, PB Versicherungen and Neue Leben (all bancassurance), Polish insurer Warta and financial services provider Ampega.