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Beazley sees California wildfires claims coming in at US$40mln

The FTSE 250-listed insurer said investment markets continue to be volatile and that its year to date investment return to 30 November 2018 is 0.5%
Beazley sees California wildfires claims coming in at US$40mln
Wildfires ravaged large parts of California earlier this year

Beazley PLC (LON:BEZ) said on Thursday that its early estimate of the cost of claims arising from the 2018 California wildfires is US$40mln, net of reinsurance, knocking its shares.

The FTSE 250-listed insurer said investment markets continue to be volatile and that its year to date investment return to 30 November 2018 is 0.5% or US$27mln.

READ: Beazley weak as half-year profit drops by 64% reflecting plunge in investment income

In a note to clients, UBS analysts said the figure was at the higher end of its forecasts.

“Beazley took a US$34mln  loss on last year's fire events, which was equivalent to a 0.3% market share,” analysts at the Swiss investment bank noted.

“This year, we understand primaries are set to retain more, given fewer are attaching to aggregate programmes vs. 2017. We, therefore, expected a 0.2% market share for Beazley, which on an estimated US$15-20bn industry loss implies $30-40mln of losses; Beazley has come out at the higher end,” they added.

Shares in the insurer were 3.6% down at 523.0p in mid-morning trade.

The company said that Christine LaSala would become its next senior independent director, taking over the role from George Blunden, who will step down from the board at the conclusion of the AGM next March.

“George has been an outstanding servant of Beazley and has been a director throughout the period of sustained growth delivered by the company,” Beazley chairman David Roberts said.

“Christine LaSala has a long and distinguished career in the insurance industry and has already made a significant contribution to the Beazley Board.  We are delighted she has agreed to assume the role of senior independent director.”

- updates to add analyst comment, shares -

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