Combined ratio up 30.3 points

Hardy Underwriting made an after-tax profit of £1.97m in the first half of 2010, 70% down on the £6.54m it made in the first half last year. The drop came despite a 4% increase in gross written premiums to £155.9m and a £1.2m tax credit for the half, compared with a tax expense of £1.2m in the first half of 2009.

Net claims incurred jumped to £61.6m in the first half of 2010 from £38.8m in the same period last year. Financial income halved to £1.6m from £3.3m. Hardy’s first half 2010 combined ratio increased 30.3 points to 101.7% from 71.4%.

"Despite the significant catastrophe activity, we are able to report a modest pre-tax profit at the half year stage,” David Mann, Hardy’s chairman, said in a statement. “The Hardy principles of technical rating expertise, prudent reserving and cycle management remain as strong and important as ever. We have an able and highly motivated team in place and are committed to delivering the growth that is needed to maximise the potential of Hardy for the benefit of all of our stakeholders."

Hardy CEO Barbara Merry added: “The resilience of the Hardy business model is evidenced by the fact that, in such testing times, we have reported a profit and have increased net tangible assets.”

Net tangible assets increased to 257p a share from 247p in the first half of 2009.

The firm has maintained its gross loss estimate for the Chile earthquake of between $40m and $60m, although the firm said a number of clients are yet to quantify their loss. Its loss estimate from the Australian hailstorms is A$34.6m.