Zurich, the insurer, said that its profits jumped by a fifth last year as it reaped the benefits of cost savings, an improved underwriting performance, and higher sales of life insurance products.
The company is almost at the end of a three year plan laid out by chief executive Mario Greco in 2016. It has already cut $1.1bn of costs, against a target of $1.5bn, and return on equity for 2018 at 12.1 per cent just beat the target.
It has also made a series of bolt on acquisitions as Mr Greco expands Zurichâ€™s presence in emerging markets such as Latin America and Asia, and in travel insurance where the company sees scope to offer customers a range of additional services.
In property and casualty insurance, the groupâ€™s biggest business, earnings rose by over a third as Zurich focused on profitability over volume.
However the focus on maintaining profitability has had its drawbacks. The company has been drawn into a legal dispute in the US with one of its customers, the confectionery giant Mondelez, over its refusal to pay a $100m claim for the NotPetya cyber attack in 2017.
In life insurance, profits rose by 23 per cent thanks to lower costs and growth in emerging markets.
Mr Greco said: â€śWe set challenging goals and are delivering against them. We have continued to strengthen our profitability and lower costs while growing our business, expanding our global footprint and broadening our range of innovative solutions to meet the changing needs of customers.â€ť