23 Aug 2012

IAG New Zealand profit rises

5:49 pm on 23 August 2012

Australian-owned insurer IAG New Zealand has reported a more than $A100 million profit.

The company made $A103 million in the year to the end of July, compared to an $A3 million surplus in the previous year, when it was severely affected by the Canterbury's earthquakes.

The country's largest general insurer bought AMI last year and includes State Insurance and NZI in its stable.

Premium income rose by a quarter to $A1.2 billion, driven by rate increases to offset rising reinsurance costs and a three-month $A76 million contribution from AMI.

The insurer paid more than $A1.3 billion in earthquake claims in Canterbury last year, 70% of which is related to the commercial sector, while house claims have been slower to settle due to rezoning.

Fewer damaging quakes helped claims return to a more normal pattern, while IAG says it kept tight control on costs.

It says the integration of AMI is well-advanced and should result in savings of at least $A30 million a year within the next couple of years.

Looking ahead, IAG is expecting strong premium income growth due to rate rises and a full year's contribution from AMI.

Overall, IAG profit fell 17% to $A207 million after writing off the entire goodwill of its UK operations.