New growth in Japan and Bermuda aids results

Hardy’s premium income has soared by 30% from £112.4m to £145.9m for the first quarter of 2009, according to its interim management statement.

“At the top-line level, they have reported a 30% year-on-year growth, which is a rapid expansion,” said Rakshit Ranjan, analyst at Noble Group. “That is because of volume growth in areas where they didn’t have a presence previously, such as Japan and Bermuda, and building up presence of the new syndicate launched in 2007. Rate hardening is also a contributor.”

Hardy said it had experienced significant hardening in its catastrophe exposed business, and figures showed that rates for its non-marine property business increased by 10.4%. In addition, premium income for its non-marine property business rose from £14.9m in the first three months of 2008 to £27.8m this year. Hardy said the increases were due to the introduction of the high net worth homeowners’ risk portfolio, along with some rate increases on the international and US direct and facultative businesses.

Marine and aviation posted only a 0.9% rate increase and premium income dropped by £1.4m to £32.9m. Hardy said it had not yet been affected by piracy for shipping fleets. It added that while there was overcapacity in the aviation sector, it expected the impact of low rates and high levels of loss and shortage of reinsurance to prompt withdrawals from the market. Meanwhile, speciality lines and property treaty lines saw rate increases of 2.3% and 7.2% respectively.

In January, Hardy upped its capacity for Syndicate 382 from £185m to £250m. “Hardy continues to go from strength to strength and the additional funds raised have enabled us to drive the growth of our business and seize opportunities as they arise,” said David Mann, chairman of Hardy.

“We continue to pursue our focus on profits, not volumes, and are on track to deliver the plan that we have outlined to our shareholders.”