Benign wind season and tighter underwriting helped improve COR to 78.1%

Lloyd’s insurer Hardy grew its premium income from £172m to £241m, as it progressed with its diversification away from its marine and aviation and specialty lines.

Hardy’s property treaty book grew to £76.9m last year, compared with £48.2m in 2008. Non-marine property also expanded from £28m to £37m in the same period.

Chief executive Barbara Merry said the (re)insurer had managed to maintain profitability at £20.1m last year, compared with £23.1m in 2008. Hardy was helped by a benign wind season, which, along with tighter underwriting, improved combined operating ratio from 91.2% to 78.1%.

Merry said Hardy’s property book was well diversified in the event of an active catastrophe season in America, meaning it would suffer less volatility than some other players in the market. “Hardy has performed consistently well during a tough year for insurers and reinsurers. We achieved more than our targeted growth in 2009. This phase of our development has been very much associated with putting new skills and building blocks in place. We now seek to exploit these advantages.”