Beazley PLC (LON:BEZ) said it expects a worse level of profitability for the full year amid heightened claims activity and US$80mln of catastrophe exposure from the hurricane season.
In a trading statement, the FTSE 250-listed firm's chief executive Andrew Horton said 12% premium growth to US$2.2bn over the nine months of the year to 30 September was being driven by organic growth and rate rises across many lines of business, but said Beazley had “continued to experience heightened claims activity”.
“We have recently concluded our nine month claims review, and the initial estimate of the costs of typhoons Faxai and Hagibis and hurricane Dorian is approximately US$80mln net of reinsurance and reinstatements premiums.”
He added that the anticipation of a more difficult claims environment in areas such as directors & officers, employment practice liability and healthcare liability has meant the group “has been adjusting its underwriting for several years in these areas and began opening at a higher reserve position at the start of 2018”.
As a result the full-year combined ratio, the measure of an insurer’s profitability, is expected to be between 100% and 102%, assuming normalised claims levels for the remainder of the year, having said in the summer it was expected in the “high nineties”.
On the upside, the higher reserves helped the investment team deliver another strong performance in the third quarter, bringing year to date net investment income to US$215m or 4.0%.
Premium rates on renewal business were also up 6% over the three quarters, improving from the 5% seen in the first half.