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Australia a bright spot for Crawford as global profit drops

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Claims management group Crawford & Company remains upbeat about its Australian operations after a global first-quarter profit decline.

“Our Australian business continues to perform well,” President of International Kieran Rigby said.

“We are currently dealing with claims arising out of Tropical Cyclone Debbie, while ensuring business-as-usual capability is maintained.”

The company says investment in forensic accounting, cyber risk, crisis management and adjacent services has delivered growth opportunities, both in the Australian insurance sector and the increasingly globalised insurance marketplace.

Crawford’s global first-quarter net profit declined 10% to $US7.7 million ($10.5 million) and the US-based company says it plans to cut annual costs by $US20 million ($27 million).

CEO Harsha Agadi says the group has maintained guidance for the full year, despite the first-quarter result falling below expectations.

“While we position Crawford to deliver revenue growth, we will also continue to aggressively manage our cost structure to drive margin expansion in this operating environment,” he said.

Crawford’s Garden City Group was affected by a smaller contribution from class actions, while its international business reported lower revenue, mainly due to exchange rate impacts.

International revenue, before reimbursements, fell to $US110.6 million ($150.3 million) from $US117.5 million ($159.7 million) in the corresponding quarter last year, while operating earnings fell to $US5.5 million ($7.5 million) from $US9.1 million ($12.4 million).

Crawford is reviewing its operating model in all territories to increase efficiency.

Mr Rigby says that has led to role reductions across the international operation, but the impact on the Australian business, which has increased headcount, is negligible.