Written premiums up as motor division enjoys rising rates

Chaucer’s investment losses have continued to mount as the financial turbulence in the equity markets continued.

The Lloyd’s insurer reported investment losses of £40.3m in October. It investment portfolio posted losses of £27.7m for the nine months to 30 September 2008.

The losses came despite the fact that the insurer had taken steps to de-risk its investment portfolio, reducing equity investments to 3.3% of the total investment portfolio, from 7.0% at 30 June 2008

The Lloyd’s insurers reported gross written premium to the end of September 2008 was £527.3m, compared to £439.7m in 2007.

Hurricane losses for Gustav and Ike were broadly consistent with group’s budget for catastrophe claims and estimates remain in line with previous estimates, at $55m net of reinsurance recoveries and reinstatement premiums.

Chaucer said its motor division’s performance continues to improve, with the private car account benefitting from further rate increases.

Ewen Gilmour, Chief Executive Officer, said: “The tough economic conditions of the first half of the year continued in the third quarter, with an already difficult investment environment becoming worse.

“However, as insurers and reinsurers rebuild impaired balance sheets and respond to the impact of Hurricane Ike, we expect underwriting conditions across international marine and non-marine classes to be more favourable in 2009.

“In addition, the UK private car motor market continues to improve and we intend to take advantage of what we expect to be further rate rises next year.”