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ZFS profits up in Q1


ZURICH, Switzerland— Zurich Financial Services Group's net income soared 71% to $1.4 billion in this year's first quarter as the insurance group posted record results for the period.

Operating profits for the Zurich, Switzerland-based company's general insurance business helped drive the increase, rising 29% to $1.1 billion. "General insurance had a strong showing in the first quarter, absorbing both the impact of the Kyrill storm in Europe as well as some reduction in rates," the insurer said in a statement.

Gross premiums in the general insurance business were up 4% to $10.2 billion. When calculated in local currency, gross premiums were down by 1%.

An increase in global life business also helped boost Zurich's profits. The value of new business in that sector rose 43% to $146 million in the quarter. Operating profits for the sector were up 11% to $317 million.

James J. Schiro, Zurich's chief executive officer, said in the statement that he expects the growth to continue, particularly in emerging markets, parts of Europe and in personal lines business written in the United States.