Insurance COR 99.8%

Bermuda-based reinsurer Aspen Insurance Holdings (AIH) has posted a net loss of $151.7m in the first quarter of 2011 as a result of natural catastrophe losses.

The group’s result follow in the wake of fellow (re)insurers Montpelier Re and Transatlantic Re which have also recorded first quarter capital losses.

AIH’s Q1 losses include losses of $255.9m, net of reinsurance recoveries, reinstatement premiums and taxes, down from net profit after tax of $18.3 million in the same quarter last year.

The (re)insurer’s combined operating ratio rose 38 percentage points to 148.5% from 110.3% in 2010 first quarter, after suffering “an exceptionally high level of natural catastrophes” during the period,

Gross written premiums for the quarter dropped 4.5% to $671.3m from $702.8m in 2010.

AIH’s insurance arm made a small underwriting profit of $0.4m in Q1 2011, compared with an underwriting profit of $2.1m for the same period last year.

The combined ratio was 99.8% for the first quarter compared with 98.9% in 2010.

Gross written premium was $234.2m compared with $212.7m in 2010 which Aspen said was primarily attributable to the marine, energy and transportation lines and the kidnap and ransom classes.

Aspen CEO Chris O’Kane said: “These natural catastrophes had a material impact on our reinsurance segment results, while our insurance segment reported a modest profit in the quarter. Our balance sheet remains strong and we believe that we are well positioned to benefit as the pricing environment improves.”