Amlin in red after £500m disaster bill

INSURER Amlin has posted a £194m loss for 2011 after being hit with a £500m bill for a series of natural catastrophes.

Yesterday the firm announced that it had suffered a £215m loss on the New Zealand earthquake, £137m on the Japanese earthquake and paid out £80m for flood damage in Thailand, amongst other claims. It had budgeted for catastrophe losses of just £170m.

Amlin, the largest Lloyd’s of London insurer, made a profit of £259m in 2010 but last year’s disasters pushed it substantially into the red.

Despite this the firm managed to maintain its dividend at 23p and said it expected a return to growth and healthy profits in 2012.

Chief executive Charles Philipps, admitted 2011 “was an exceptionally challenging year” but emphasised that the firm’s position as market leaders meant it was already benefitting from the upturn in trade and is “well placed to resume the delivery of good returns for shareholders”.

Amlin said renewal rates increased by four per cent in January, compared to reductions of 1.3 per cent the year before.

Joy Ferneyhough, an analyst at Execution Noble, maintained her “buy” rating, explaining that “with rates moving higher and plenty of capital to support growth Amlin are well placed to benefit”.

Shares in the company closed down 4.5 per cent at 336p.