Insurer Brit turns a profit against odds

BRIT Insurance yesterday announced a profit for 2011 despite a generally miserable year for the industry.

Profit before tax was £75.8m, down a third on 2010’s figure of £116.4m.

Most of this was due to a doubling of one-off catastrophe-related claims to £141.9m, a result of earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand and tornados in the US.

Gross written premiums also declined from £1,530m to £1,489m.

Unlike many of its rival insurers, Brit does not have any exposure to bad European sovereign debt.

Chief executive Mark Cloutier commented: “Brit delivered a solid result in 2011 against a weak market, while at the same time making good progress in our efforts to reposition the group for the future.

“With record natural catastrophe and other large losses, low interest rates, volatile investment markets and a broadly flat pricing environment, 2011 was an extremely challenging year for the sector. We are very pleased to have delivered a return on equity of nine per cent against this backdrop.”

The Amsterdam-based firm was bought in early 2011 by private equity firm Achilles in a deal that valued the insurer at around £888m.

Since then they have sought to hire new talent and the firm recently created a new Global Specialty division by combining the former global markets and reinsurance businesses.

It now intends to focus on the property and energy market and growing its UK business.

FAST FACTS | BRIT INSURANCE

● In 2010 Brit signed a four year deal to sponsor the English cricket teams.
● They have sponsored the Brit Insurance Design Awards for the last four years, in association with the Design Museum.

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