Lloyd's of London insurer Catlin's profits jump ahead of takeover by rival XL

 
Jessica Morris
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Catlin is a Lloyd's of London insurer (Source: Getty)

The figures

Lloyd's of London insurer Catlin reported gross written premiums of $5.97bn (£3.92bn) for the year ending December 2014, which was up 13 per cent from $5.30bn (£3.48bn) a year earlier. It said the figure was slightly inflated by foreign currency exchange rates and an increase in the value of multiyear contracts written during 2014 in the London and Bermuda underwriting hubs.

Why it's interesting

Chief executive Stephen Catlin said he felt "a degree of sadness" that the company he established in 1984 was likely to be entering its final months as an independent organisation. Nonetheless, the group used its full-year results to sing praise for a merger with NYSE-listed XL Group. "Combining operations would put the merged companies in a better position to face the key challenges now evident in the property/casualty insurance and resinsurance sector," it said.

Moreover, adding to the sense that this is indeed an end of an era, Catlin looked back at its achievements since its international public offering in 2014. Gross written premium volume has increased from $1.43bn to $5.97bn while its international footprint has swelled from six to 25 different countries.

Meanwhile, while Catlin has been criticised for prioritising international expansion over returning cash to shareholders, its five non-London underwriting hubs - US, Bermuda, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Canada - wrote US$3.20 billion in gross premiums, or 54 per cent of the Group's total last year.

What Catlin said

"I have been asked many times over the past months why would Catlin agree to be acquired by a competitor. It's a good question," Stephen Catlin, chief executive, said.

"Catlin and XL had been discussing the future of both businesses for more than a year, and both companies' managements concurred that fundamental changes were taking place in the insurance industry."

"These include the increasing concentration among brokers; the need to invest in more expensive and more advanced data and analytics systems; the challenges raised by alternative capital; and increasing costs, particularly regulatory costs."

Catlin's share price was trading slightly down 0.8 per cent at £6.97 at pixel time in London today.

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