Lloyd's insurer upbeat over growth prospects

Hardy Underwriting Group, the specialist Lloyd’s insurer which owns and manages syndicates 382 and 38Twenty, reported that the expected profit for Syndicate 382 for the year ended 2005 to be in the range 11% to 16% (previously 7.5% to 12.5 %).

In accordance with Lloyd’s requirements, the 2006 year of account is subject to a formal published forecast for the first time. Taking into account unexpired exposures, the company announced the estimated profit for the year to be in the range 11% to 16%.

Hardy reported that syndicates 382 and 38Twenty are both experiencing satisfactory market conditions at present and are writing reasonable volumes of well-rated business. While there is increasing evidence of competition in many lines of business, margins are acceptable.

The company expects that the overall capacity level for 2008 will remain stable or may grow modestly to allow for further development of syndicate 38Twenty which began underwriting in 2007.

The Group’s exposure to the UK floods is modest and current estimates are that losses will be less than 2% of 2007 capacity. No losses from the Australian floods are expected.

David Mann, chairman of Hardy, said:“The result for 2005 is remarkable by any standards. This, together with continued strong performance for 2006, has given us an excellent start to 2007. I look forward to providing shareholders with a more detailed update when we announce our interim results on 12 September.”

·