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Zurich bounces back to fourth-quarter profit

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Zurich Insurance Group A.G. on Thursday reported $685 million in fourth quarter net income, up from a loss of $424 million for the same period in 2015 when the Swiss insurer faced large catastrophe losses and other issues.

Total group business volume for the quarter rose 1% to $16.3 billion. The general insurance — or property/casualty — combined ratio for the quarter was 98.5%, an improvement from 108.6% a year ago.

Full-year net income rose 74% to $3.2 billion, which Zurich said was driven by improved profitability in general insurance and continued growth in global life, among other things. Total group business volumes for the year dipped by 0.1% to $67.9 billion.

The combined ratio for the year for its general insurance business improved 5.1 points to 98.4%.

Group CEO Mario Greco, who was brought in a year ago to turnaround Zurich, said in a statement that the insurer looked to strengthen and focus its business.

“We also undertook several selected acquisitions,” Mr. Greco said, “which provided new customer segments and products in markets where we were already strong, and aiming to be even stronger. RCIS, the crop insurer we purchased in April last year, in particular made a solid contribution to our U.S. operations.”