Also in the financial news this week ...
Swiss Re profit soars
Swiss Re made a net profit of $1.59bn (£985m) for the first nine months of 2010, up sharply from the $102m profit it made in the same period of 2009. Third-quarter profit almost doubled to $618m from $314m. The result marks a return to form for Swiss Re, which was hit hard by the financial crisis in 2008 and early 2009, posting an $825m loss in 2008.
Hiscox premiums steady
Lloyd’s insurer Hiscox wrote £1.205bn of gross premiums in the first nine months of 2010, down slightly from the £1.212bn it wrote in the same period last year. The flat premium income is a result of the company continuing to grow its local specialty lines but contract in areas where rates are challenging – mainly US property lines and big-ticket professional indemnity. However,
Hiscox added that it is ready to expand in off-shore energy lines where market conditions are expected to improve after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig loss.
Markel ratio rises to 99%
Lloyd's insurer Markel International, a division of US insurance group Markel Corporation, posted a combined ratio of 99% for the first nine months of 2010, up from 93% in the same period of 2009. The company attributed the increased combined ratio to the Chilean earthquake and Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster, which both struck in the first half of the year. In the third quarter, the combined ratio was 77%, compared with 91% in the same quarter of 2009.
Lancashire profit drops
Bermuda-based, London-listed (re)insurance group Lancashire Holdings made a net profit of $199m (£123m) for the first nine months of 2010, down 22% from $255.8m in the same period last year. Lancashire’s nine-month combined ratio was 65.1% in 2010, up from 51.3% in 2009.