November 15, 2018 / 6:41 AM / 25 days ago

UPDATE 1-NN Group's Q3 profit rises on improving Dutch market

(Adds CEO quote, more detail)

AMSTERDAM, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Insurer NN Group on Thursday reported a surprise 7 percent rise in third-quarter core profit at 463 million euros ($524.6 million), as earnings in its Dutch home market improved.

Analysts polled by Reuters expected operating result to drop to 405 million euros on average, from 431 million euros in the year-ago period.

“Operating result was supported by an improved performance in both portfolios of Netherlands non-life and higher dividends at Netherlands life, as well as lower expenses,” Chief Executive Lard Friese said.

Lower claims made the Dutch property and casualty insurance business, known as non-life, profitable after losses earlier in the year. Together with a 10 percent rise in earnings from Dutch life insurance, this offset shrinking profits elsewhere in Europe and Japan.

The company’s 2.5-billion-euro takeover of smaller Dutch rival Delta Lloyd, completed in May last year, drove down costs by 33 million euros in the third quarter, keeping total reductions on track for the 400 million euros NN has promised to deliver by 2020.

Lower costs and improving operating results in the Netherlands strengthened the group’s capital position, with the total capital adequacy measure under Solvency II rules improving to 239 percent at the end of September, from 226 percent three months earlier. ($1=0.8825 euros) (Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Clarence Fernandez)

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