US catastrophe rates increase 9.6%

Amlin claims it has strong prospects for hardening rates and has passed the bottom of the market cycle.

It has reported 2009 renewal premium income of £389m, a 30.6% increase from 2008. The rise was due to last year’s hurricane activity and the recent dislocation in capital markets that has resulted in firmer reinsurance rates.

Rates have increased 9.6% in its US catastrophe accounts, while its international catastrophe book improved 3.1%.

The company said: “Looking forward, we expect the rating environment in this area will continue to improve.

“Retrocessional capacity is limited this year following the withdrawal of a number of market participants. This is likely to have further impact on the available primary reinsurance capacity through 2009, particularly for peak exposures.”

Amlin added that property and casualty rates were stable but that there were positive rate movements in marine premiums, while energy rates were up 22% and hull insurance rates were rising 8.9%.

The group’s gross written premium (deducted before brokerage) in the year ended 31 December 2008 was £1.02bn, a decrease of 1.9% on the previous year.

The gross written premium of Amlin’s Syndicate 2001 stood at £833.9m, down from £900.6m in 2007.

“We have a strong balance sheet and we are in an excellent position to take advantage of opportunities to grow the group over this next phase of the cycle,” said Charles Phillips, Amlin’s chief executive.