Lloyd’s insurer sees knock-on effect of catastrophe’s hit its bottom line

Specialist insurer Beazley has seen its profit before tax fall to just $76.4m for the year ending December 2018, as the 2017 catastrophe claims and a “challenging market” continue to take their toll. 

This compares with $168m recorded for the previous year, and $293m posted in 2016

Commenting on the results, group chief executive, Andrew Horton acknowledged that earnings had been depressed, but added that the company had entered 2019 with ”positive premium momentum and higher interest rates that should deliver stronger returns”.

The company’s chairman said that 2018 had been only “slightly less eventful” than 2017, with two hurricanes affecting the US and two typhoons in Japan, as well as the California wildfires which destroyed almost two million acres and caused the deaths of over a hundred people.

The events of 2017 had already depleted the company’s catastrophe reserves, and the events of 2018 did not help matters.

Beazley detailed that profitability had also been affected by underwriting losses in its property insurance and reinsurance business, which led to its combined ratio of 98% compared with 99% the previous year. Investment returns also fell year on year.

Positive outlook

The company reported a 12% rise in GWP over the previous year, with its US business showing strong growth. Beazley said it wrote in excess of a billion dollars of premium locally.

The Lloyd’s insurer also unveiled a series of personnel changes, with Neil Maidment replaced by Adrian Cox as chief underwriting officer, and Tim Turner taking over from Clive Washbourn as head of marine.

Also, Sally Lake taking over as financial director, Lou Ann Layton becoming the new head of broker relations, and Jerry Sullivan heading the US management committee.