UPDATE 1-Dutch insurer Aegon raises forecasts for capital, cashflow

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(Adds details, CEO quotes)

Aug 11 (Reuters) - Aegon raised its forecasts for full-year operating capital generation and 2021-2023 free cashflow on Thursday as the insurer exceeded analysts' estimates with a second-quarter operating result of 538 million euros.

The average estimate in a company-compiled consensus was 486 million euros ($499 million) for the Dutch insurer, which has significant operations in the United States.

"The first half year of 2022 was one of the most challenging periods for investors with equity markets experiencing their worst start of the year in over five decades," Aegon Chief Executive Officer Lard Friese said in a statement.

Friese said Aegon's operating result was "reflecting the receding impact of COVID-19 and the progress we are making on our operational improvement plan that helped offset the impact from lower equity markets".

However, the group swung to a net loss of 348 million euros on a one-time charge related to U.S. reinsurance rate increases, against an average forecast of a 129 million euro loss.

Since taking the top job, Friese has been seeking to end years of underperformance by cutting costs, hedging risks and selling off businesses that are small or have volatile returns.

Aegon forecast operating capital generation of around 1.4 billion euros in 2022, against about 1.2 billion previously. It also said it expected to achieve cumulative free cash flow over the period 2021 to 2023 of at least 2.2 billion euros, well above its previous target of 1.4 to 1.6 billion.

Aegon, which earlier this year completed the sale of its Hungarian arm and said it planned to sell its 50% stake in its joint venture with Liberbank, is now exploring a deal to divest its capital-intensive U.S. variable annuity portfolio. ($1 = 0.9730 euros) (Reporting by Juliette Portala and Elitsa Gadeva ; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Alexander Smith)