From Munich Re to Fortis (now Ageas), the 'teens' in our Top 50 have had their ups and downs this year
11. Munich Re
Munich Re has three UK brands: Great Lakes Reinsurance, DAS Legal Expenses and HSB Engineering. Despite being hit by catastrophes, taking its combined ratio to 106.4% in the first half of 2010, it boasted H1 consolidated profit of €709m (£617m), up from €697m. It is attempting to expand into the primary market, and insists that Chinese walls around the business will allay concerns that it is competing with its clients.
12. Everest Re
Battered by around $75m (£47m) of catastrophe losses – after reinstatement premiums and tax – including the New Zealand earthquake and the hailstorm in Calgary, Everest Re is forecasting Q3 operating earnings of between $2.55 (£1.59) and $2.75 per share, with net income between $2.95 and $3.20 per share. The Bermuda-based insurer also suffered lower net investment.
13. Lloyds Banking Group
Recently exposed as the most complained-about insurer for payment protection insurance, Lloyds scrapped PPI for new customers in July as the industry-wide mis-selling scandal unfolded. The insurer took a £70m hit owing to its exit from PPI, but pre-tax profit and fair value unwind increased 5% to £195m in the first half of 2010, from £186m last year.
Voted number one in this year’s Insurance Times Broker Service Survey, Chubb remains a Rolls-Royce, albeit a US-based one, of the market. Net income in the second quarter of 2010 was $518m (£326.5m) compared with $551m the year before, a fall caused by catastrophe losses totalling $193m.
Sponsor of England rugby, despite its Australian parent, QBE’s insurance profit rose 8% to $822m in the first half of 2010. This resulted in an insurance profit margin of 15.7% compared with 17.5% for the same period last year. The commercial lines specialist’s combined operating ratio was 89.7% compared with 89.3%.
16. NFU Mutual
National Farmers Union Mutual lost a case in the High Court in April in which it was suing HSBC Insurance for £1m over who should foot the bill for a fire at a historic country house. In 2009 the specialist insurer recorded gross written premium of £978.4m and an underwriting loss of £118m, blaming high claim volumes and stiff price competition.
Just nine months into the job, Aspen’s UK chief executive Rupert Villers announced in September that he would be stepping down, citing personal reasons. He will go part-time in 2011, retaining responsibility for Aspen’s financial institutions and professional lines. John Cavoores has been appointed co-chief executive. The Bermuda-based company made a $473.9m (£298.6m) net profit after tax last year, compared with $126.3m for 2008.
18. XL Capital
After joining as chief executive in May 2008, Mike McGavick dragged the Bermuda-based insurer and reinsurer back into profit in 2009 by robustly pruning back what was once a diversified business, including cutting the financial guarantees operation and placing its life reinsurance business into run-off. XL Capital made a net profit of $319.8m (£201.5m) in the first half of 2010.
The strong leadership of John O’Roarke, managing director of LV=’s general insurance business, alongside fellow emigrés from RBS, is achieving results. Despite the firm’s heavy reliance on the motor market, premium income for LV= general insurance increased by 37% to £546.4m in the first half of 2010, while the combined ratio improved to 101.9% from 103.8%.
In October, Fortis rebranded as Ageas in the UK to distance itself from troubled former parent Fortis Bank. First-half pre-tax profit dived 68% to £8.4m from £26m in the same period last year and combined ratio increased 2.1 points to 106.5% from 104.4%. The results were partly hit by the £3.4m cost of its tie-up with Tesco.