Allianz's forecast-beating results are described as 'brilliant' by one trader but how is Europe's largest insurer overcoming the low interest rates and competition that is pressuring others in the sector? David Pollard reports.
Insurers aren't universally popular among consumers. Traders like them - or at least some of them. One describing Allianz's latest numbers as 'brilliant'. Net profit is up 37 per cent from a year earlier. (1.86 bln euros). It's still on target, it says, for a 10.5 billion euro operating profit for the year as a whole. And, crucially, its Pimco bond fund manager unit saw inflows for the first time in over three years. (4.7 bln euros) SOUNDBITE (English) IG SENIOR ANALYST, CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, SAYING: "We've seen the Pimco performance begin to improve for various fundamental reasons. You've seen Allianz maintain its international exposure and doing well out that, so moving away from being just quite focused on Europe." Allianz is Europe's biggest insurer. Others have also seen encouraging results - Zurich's net profits more than quadrupling in the third quarter. (912 mln dollars) As the sector apparently overcomes low interest rates and a competitive environment. Allianz's boss, though, sees new uncertainties ahead - in the shape of the US president-elect. And the expansive fiscal policies and protectionist regimes he might encourage. SOUNDBITE (English) IG SENIOR ANALYST, CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, SAYING: "You do wonder if there's any bad news further down the line given of course the repercussions from a Trump presidency and how that will affect trade policy and economic growth in key emerging markets." But that's tomorrow. Today, Allianz shares up 4 per cent as markets welcomed the better-than-expected results. The insurer also making it plain it has cash to spare for acquisitions or share buy-backs.