Hurricane specialist gears up for growth after stormy 2009

HURRICANE insurance specialist Chaucer had a stormy 2009. It raised £75m in a share placing; fought off two takeover bids; saw private equity house Pamplona become its biggest shareholder; and cleared out the boardroom.

Luckily, the hurricane season was unusually calm, helping the Lloyd’s insurer back into the black. Gross premiums also rose by five per cent on a constant currency basis.

But it’s 2010 that should be getting investors excited. Unlike other non-life insurance specialists, which are predicting flat premiums this year, Chaucer is expecting growth. That’s because of its exposure to motoring insurance in the UK?– accounting for 20 per cent of its portfolio – where premiums are forecast to rise by 14 per cent this year.

The firm’s stock closed down 1.5p at 46.25p yesterday, at a discount to estimates for net asset value per share in 2010. Hurricane chasers should jump aboard.