Disaster prone first quarter pushes premiums up 19pc for insurer Beazley

Steve Dinneen
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LLOYDS of London insurer Beazley said premiums rose 19 per cent in an action-packed first quarter.

Premiums hit $438.2m (£295.5m) in the three months to March. The firm was hit by a series of disasters. It said it will pay out between $55m and $75m for losses incurred in the Chilean earthquake, with market costs estimated at up to $8bn.

It will also be hit by a $6m bill for BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico – far less than some analysts had predicted.

Chief executive Andrew Horton said: “The business continued to grow in the early stages of 2010. The expansion of our shorter tail lines provides balance to our portfolio and the market continues to provide profitable opportunities for Beazley. The outlook for investment markets remains unclear and we believe that capital preservation is a priority as we look to create further profitable underwriting growth.”

Meanwhile, British non-life insurer Hiscox said it made a good profit in the first quarter. Gross written premiums for the first quarter grew 6.4 per cent year-on-year to £504.1m. Chairman Robert Hiscox said: “True to form, having given us a wonderfully quiet year last year, Mother Nature was busy in the quarter.”