Insurer Hardy takes a hit after disaster losses

LLOYD’S insurer Hardy Underwriting yesterday became the latest company to report results hit by catastrophe losses as its profit halved to £10m in 2010.

Net tangible assets rose 1.5 per cent to 270p per share, from 266p in 2009, and it raised its dividend ten per cent to 14.6p. Gross written premiums increased to £279.4m from £242m the previous year.

Chairman David Mann said an “unprecedented level of international natural catastrophes” had hit profits, while “a surplus of capacity” in the market had prevented rate rises.

He also warned that new Solvency II capital requirements on insurers were driving rising costs in the firm.

Chief executive Barbara Merry said the global spread of disasters meant Hardy’s property treaty reinsurance account “incurred a greater frequency and severity of loss than a typical Lloyd’s account.”

Hardy said it had opened a new office in Singapore alongside its current London and Bermuda presence, to access “the most important Asian hub for reinsurance”.

It added that its director of underwriting, Adrian Walker, is to retire on 17 May and would be replaced by his deputy, Patrick Gage.