ASR, which is set to close the acquisition of rival Aegon's domestic operations in the second half of 2023 to become the country's second largest insurer, also said the preparations for the combination were on track.

The group said it was confident it would be able to deliver 185 million euros ($197.17 million) of cost synergies per year within up to three years after closing the deal.

"We see increased momentum in the buy-out market and the proposed business combination with Aegon Nederland will improve our position to service this market," Chief Executive Jos Baeten said in a statement.

ASR saw its operating profit grow 3% to 1.04 billion euros last year, compared with a consensus forecast of 1.00 billion euros provided by the company.

Gross written premiums in its non-life insurance segment increased by 3.7% to 4.28 billion euros, beating analysts' estimate of 4.21 billion euros, boosted by its property and casualty insurance and disability coverage.

In the life segment, premiums rose 3.1% to 1.95 billion euros as growth in pension defined contributions compensated for a drop in the defined benefit pension portfolio and individual life insurance.

Baeten said 2022 was marked by rising costs, including wages, but also stronger provisions amid geopolitical tensions, weak markets, rising interest rates and inflation.

In December, the group raised wages by 4% as part of the new collective labour agreement.

ASR proposed a dividend of 2.70 euros per share for 2022, up 12% from the previous year and in line with its own guidance.

($1 = 0.9383 euros)

(Reporting by Dagmarah Mackos in Gdansk; editing by Milla Nissi)