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VIENNA, Austria,Wiener Städtische Versicherung A.G. (Vienna Insurance Group) has reported an increase of 17.4% in consolidated premiums written, to €5.88 billion ($7.82 billion), compared to the previous year.
Boosted in part by growth in its Central and Eastern European operations, the group's before tax profits rose by 33.5%, to €320.97 million ($427 million) in 2006, the company reported.
Wiener Städtische said it would consider increasing its dividend by 16 cent, to 82 cent per share.
"In 2006, we took important steps towards the expansion of the Vienna Insurance Group in CEE and Austria and further developed the efficiency of our Group companies," said CEO Günter Geyer in a statement.
"We gained additional market shares in all lines of business in Austria and developed our shares in premiums particularly dynamically in CEE as compared to the international insurers. This was achieved partly by strategically-appropriate acquisitions and partly by the growth generated by our own efforts."
All of the group's lines of business posted increases in premiums last year, with the highest increases coming in property/casualty insurance.
Property/casualty premiums written rose by a 19.7%, to €3.07 billion ($4.08 billion) in 2006.
In the CEE markets, property/casualty insurance posted an increase of 37.4%, bringing the premium volume to €1.59 billion ($2.11 billion). At 52%, the CEE Group companies' share in property/casualty premiums for the first time surpassed the 50% mark, the company said.