German reinsurance giant Munich Re posted higher first-quarter profits Thursday and said it was on course to meet its 2021 targets despite payouts linked to Covid-19 and a US cold snap.
The Munich-based group, whose main business is cushioning other insurers against risk, booked a net profit of 589m euros ($708m) over the January-March period, up from 221 million a year earlier.
Premium takings, which are equivalent to revenues in the insurance sector, climbed 1.9 per cent to reach 14.5b euros.
The company had already said in an unscheduled announcement in late April that profits were going to beat analyst estimates, boosted by rising reinsurance prices and a strong performance by primary insurance unit Ergo.
Munich Re said in a statement that it nevertheless took an "above average" hit in claims for major losses arising from natural catastrophes, led by a February freeze in Texas that cost the firm 450m euros.
The coronavirus pandemic posed "a considerably lower burden" over the first three months compared with last year, it added, with Covid-19 claims totalling 167m euros.
"On top of the anticipated Covid-19 losses, there was an unusual cold snap in the United States early this year," said chief financial officer Christoph Jurecka.
He said the group was "nevertheless on track" to meet its goal of achieving a net profit of 2.8b euros in 2021 and a slight uptick in premiums.