Catlin Group's annual profits rocket

Specialist insurer Catlin Group on Thursday raised its dividend by 5.4 per cent after profits soared last year.

Specialist insurer Catlin Group on Thursday raised its dividend by 5.4 per cent after profits soared last year.

The FTSE 250 property and casualty insurer and reinsurer increased its annual dividend to 29.5p per share compared to 28.0p in 2011. Profits before tax came to $339m, up from $71m the previous year.

Results were driven by underwriting services which generated a net contribution of $788m, the highest in five years and a 143% increase from a year ago.

Chairman John Barton said the attritional loss ratio remained low at 50.6%, "demonstrating the quality and discipline of our underwriting".

"Our diversification strategy is contributing to our underwriting success," Chairman John Barton said.

"The non-London/UK underwriting hubs continue to grow and now account for 50% of overall gross premiums written. More importantly, all of our underwriting hubs produced underwriting contributions in 2012."

The group produced a return on net tangible assets of 14.6% and a return on equity of 11.3%.

Chief Executive Stephen Catlin said the company would build on last year's strong performance.

He noted that pricing for catastrophe-exposed business was high following rate increases in 2011 and 2012.

Rate improvements for US property reinsurance on January 1st will aid in renewals following the aftermath of the Hurricane Sandy which devastated homes and infrastructure across the US last year, he added.

"Catlin enters 2013 in an excellent position," he said.

"Our business model - including our focus on underwriting discipline and our global distribution network - has proved successful. We believe that attractive underwriting opportunities exist across our six underwriting hubs. Our capital base remains solid and flexible. Catlin continues to build a business for the future, and we look ahead with confidence."

RD

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