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Lower result from life capital biz dents Swiss Re H1 net income

Swiss Re AG saw its first-half unaudited net income attributable to common shareholders fall to $1.21 billion from $1.87 billion in the same period in 2016, primarily due to the absence of large one-off realized gains that boosted the life capital business' results in the year-ago period.

EPS fell on a yearly basis to $3.47 from $5.13. Annualized return on equity also declined year over year, to 7.0% from 10.9%.

First-half gross premiums written amounted to $18.15 billion, down from $19.80 billion a year earlier, while net premiums written was $16.82 billion, compared with $18.68 billion a year ago. Claims and claims adjustment expenses rose year over year to $6.32 billion from $6.21 billion.

In the property and casualty reinsurance division, the net attributable income fell 37% year over year to $546 million from the year-ago $870 million. The business' combined ratio stood at 97.4% in the period, compared to 97.2% a year earlier. Swiss Re said the P&C reinsurance result reflected losses due to a number of natural catastrophes, including Cyclone Debbie in Australia and floods in Peru.

The net attributable income in the life and health reinsurance division rose year over year to $432 million from $417 million, while net income from corporate solutions declined to $39 million from $55 million a year earlier. The combined ratio at the corporate solutions division stood at 104.5% in the period, compared to 101.6% a year earlier.

The life capital business saw net attributable income declined 75% to $143 million in the half from $569 million a year ago. Swiss Re noted that its 2016 result for the life capital business was boosted by large one-off realized gains on its investment portfolio.

The group return on investment declined to 3.5% in the half from 3.7% in the first half of 2016, reflecting reduced realized gains from interest rate derivatives.

Swiss Re said its capitalization remains "very strong," with its solvency ratio, according to the Swiss Solvency Test, standing at 262% in the period.