Zurich reported strong growth for its first quarter on Thursday, driven in particular by the transformation of its US subsidiary Farmers, which reported an "excellent" performance from its point of view.

Good business figures from the property-casualty business, Zurich's main source of profits, also largely underpinned the Swiss insurance group's results.

On an organic basis, revenues from the property-casualty business climbed 12% over the first three months of the year.

Commissions generated by Farmers Management Services (FMS), Zurich's agricultural subsidiary in the USA, rose by 6% over the quarter, well above the average growth rate of the last ten years.

In total, the Swiss Solvency Test (SST) ratio stood at 232% as of March 31.

In a press release, Zurich indicated that it intends to launch its previously announced CHF 1.1 billion share buyback program 'within the next few weeks'.

At around 12:30 p.m., Zurich shares were up by around 2%, making it the biggest gainer on the SMI index.

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