Bermuda insurer reports 40% profit fall for the first half.

Bermuda insurer Lancashire Holdings reported pre-tax profits of $49.8m (£25.5m) for the second quarter of 2008, down 40% on the same period last year.

The insurer posted gross written premiums of $196.7m, down 27.4% on its second quarter results last year, and a combined ratio of 72.3%. The group’s loss ratio was 45.7%.

For the first six months of 2008, it posted gross written premiums of $383.4m and a combined ratio of 66.4%. Its loss ratio was 42.1%.

Group chief executive Richard Brindle said: “Following our 5% growth in book value per share in the first quarter of 2008 we have followed with a further 3.1% in the second quarter, compounding to a total of 8.3% for the first half of a very difficult year for the property and casualty sector.

“We are very proud that our cautious approach in a softening market has produced a combined ratio of 72.3% in the second quarter, and 66.4% for the year to date.

He said the group took a “discipline stance” on renewals as second quarter premiums remained flat.

“While a significant proportion of deals renewed at acceptable rates, we stuck to the Lancashire strategy of turning away business which doesn’t meet our return requirements,” he said