But primary insurance profitability hit by Q4 catastrophes

Bermuda-based Aspen Insurance has reported operating profit after tax of $304.3m (£186.1m) for 2013.

This is an 8.7% increase on the $279.9m made over 2012.

Aspen also managed to grow gross written premium (GWP) by 2.5%, with GWP of $2.65bn for 2013 (2012: $2.58bn). This included $1.51bn of primary insurance GWP in 2013, an increase of 11.6% on the $1.26bn of premiums written in 2012.

However, the (re)insurer’s primary insurance business reported an unprofitable combined operating ratio (COR) of 103.9% for 2013, 4.6 percentage points higher than the 99.3% reported for 2012. This was largely owing to a 4.1 percentage deterioration in the loss ratio.

Most of these losses came in Q4 2013 when the loss ratio peaked at 85% and the COR hit 121.6%, the only time in the year that the ratio rose above 100%. Aspen said an increase of mid-sized losses from its marine division added 15.6 percentage points to the Q4 loss ratio.

A total of 22.9 percentage points was added to the ratio as a result of Q4 catastrophes.

Chief executive Chris O’Kane said: “In 2013 we continued to advance our three levers for enhancing return on equity – capital management, enhancing investment returns and business portfolio optimisation.

“The reinsurance business had outstanding results in 2013 and we are pleased with our 1 January renewals, which show that clients recognised the strength of Aspen Re’s capabilities and our importance as a trading partner.”