New underwriters have brought books of business including kidnap and ransom

Lloyd’s insurer Hardy’s 2011 growth will come from new areas as soft rates stifle expansion of its core business, according to chief executive Barbara Merry.

“The mature book we have will be steady,” Merry told Insurance Times on the day Hardy released its full-year 2010 results. “Such growth as we can see will come from new initiatives.”

The company hired several underwriters in 2010, who brought with them books of business such as crop, and kidnap and ransom. “We’ll bolt on things that complement what we already have,” Merry added.

The firm also opened an office in Singapore in 2010 and set up Hardy Arig Insurance Management, a joint venture with Bahraini insurer Arig, in 2009.

Its profit after tax for 2010 fell 45% to £9.6m from £17.5m in 2009, and its combined ratio jumped to 94.7% from 78.1% after heavy catastrophe losses.