Following an 'exceptionally challenging year' for insurance and reinsurance underwriter Amlin, the firm has remained upbeat and expects a return to a good level of profitability in 2012.
Shares fell 3.3% in early trading on Monday following the release of the group's 2011 results.
In the year ended December 31st which saw earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, tornadoes in the US and floods in Australia, Denmark and Thailand, the group made a loss before tax of £193.8m, compared with a profit of £259.2m the year before. Net catastrophe losses totalled £500.8m, relative to expected catastrophe losses of £170m, the group said.
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Amlin reported a negative return on equity (RoE) of 8.6%, compared with +13.9% in 2010. The five-year average RoE target of 14.7% is only slightly below the cross-cycle target of 15%.
The group's combined ratio - the ratio of expenses/losses to premiums - rose to 108%, compared with the 89% level in 2010. This included 27% generated from the major catastrophe losses.
"In addition to this wide ranging loss activity, we were also managing assets in a difficult and volatile environment, with historically low interest rates, which adversely affected the investment return achieved," said Chairman Roger Taylor.
Amlin also announced today that Taylor has decided to retire as Chairman, having served in that position since the merger of Angerstein and Murray Lawrence in 1998. Current board member Richard Davey will succeed him at the annual general meeting on May 17th.
Gross written premiums stood at £2,304.1m, up 6% from £2,172.5m the year before. The average renewal rate was 1.1%, compared with a decrease of 1.8% in 2010.
"Overall, with the underlying profitability of our core business in London in 2011, an improving rating environment in reinsurance and UK motor in particular, the expectation of better performance at ACI and the capital to support our planned growth in premiums, we expect to return to a good level of profitability in 2012," said Chief Executive Charles Philipps.
The group maintained its total dividend at 23p per share.
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