Finnish insurer Sampo expects claim payment costs to rise – Metro US

Finnish insurer Sampo expects claim payment costs to rise

Illustration shows Sampo Group logo
Illustration shows Sampo Group logo

(Reuters) -Sampo on Wednesday said it expected claim payment costs to continue to rise this year as the Finnish insurer reported lower first-quarter profits.

Sampo also reported a 2.3 percentage point rise in its combined ratio in the first quarter to 83.5%, missing analysts’ consensus estimate of 82.8%. A ratio below 100 means an insurer earns more in premiums than it pays out in claims.

The Finnish insurer said it had seen claim payment costs continue to rise by around 3% in the Nordic region and it expects them to increase towards the end of the year.

Sampo also said economic uncertainty caused by the Ukraine conflict had made it difficult to estimate by how much.

Sampo’s January-March pretax profit fell 10% to 566 million euros ($595.26 million), but investments helped beat the 476.5 million euro mean estimate in a company provided poll.

Sampo’s shares were flat in early trade.

Sampo’s property and casualty business If, which makes up the bulk of group earnings, reported a 10% rise in pretax profit and a 0.7% drop in combined ratio.

“The result was strong…which means price increases are biting,” Inderes analyst Sauli Vilen said.

Sampo last Friday said it had sold its final holding in Finnish Nordea bank, concluding a strategic shift to focus on insurance business Sampo announced in November 2020.

The insurer is currently returning excess capital gained from selling stake in Nordea and from dividends paid out by the bank to shareholders with a 250 million euro buyback programme announced at the end of March.

($1 = 0.9508 euros)

(Reporting by Essi Lehto, Editing by Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman)