Beazley cheers with stable losses despite catastrophes

LLOYD’S insurer Beazley said it had kept its losses from the spate of catastrophes worldwide under control yesterday but pulled back from taking on new business this year.

Dublin-based Beazley said disasters such as the Japanese earthquake in March and tornadoes across the US in May cost it an estimated $183m (£115m) – a figure analysts had expected would be increased.

It said it was “pleased to report that this estimate remains unaltered” but added that recent severe floods in Thailand and Hurricane Irene in the US could cause it more losses.

Beazley’s premium income, from insurance ranging from political risk to health, was flat at $1.35bn (£850m) in the first nine months of this year compared to last year.

But it expects to make an underwriting profit this year after raising its rates by one per cent and said more rises were expected next year, particularly in areas affected by a natural disaster. It expects to grow by five to 10 per cent next year.

“We have seen hardening of premium rates in the reinsurance and property classes. In general, trading conditions are improving,” Beazley said in a statement. It downplayed its exposure to the Eurozone crisis, making it clear it held only top-rated sovereign debt and AAA-rated banks.