Chile quake led to £13m of total £15.5m underwriting loss

A string of catastrophe losses have been blamed for a first-half pre-tax loss of £9.9m at specialist church and charities insurer Ecclesiastical. The combined ratio has risen to 111.3%, but chief executive Michael Tripp has said he is encouraged by underwriting results.

The Chile earthquake contributed £13m to Ecclesiastical’s underwriting loss of £15.5m, while poor performance in the motor book led to £4m underwriting losses. The company was also affected by the hailstorms in Perth and Melbourne, and the severe UK?winter. Ecclesiastical has exposure to international risks through its London market operation, Ecclesiastical Underwriting Management.

Tripp said that, as a result of a stock market slump in June, the company would have posted a profit if it had reported in July.

“The underlying underwriting in June, July and so far in August reinforces that. The one-off weather catastrophes and the volatility of the stock market have really made the difference.”

He added that despite poor motor performance, Ecclesiastical had not had to strengthen reserves.