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Ansvar returns to profit as new business rises

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Church and heritage insurer Ansvar has reported a $1.2 million underwriting profit for last year following a rise in new business and reserve releases.

The result reversed a 2016 loss of $2.2 million and took the combined operating ratio to 96.9% from 106.7%.

New business jumped 73%, contributing to gross written premium rising 26% to $96.3 million.

Liability strength was partly offset by property losses due to Cyclone Debbie and a NSW hailstorm, but catastrophe event releases from prior years and reinsurance reduced the impact.

UK-based parent Ecclesiastical Insurance Office says group profit before tax gained 32% to £82.2 million ($146.3 million) amid significant growth across all its territories.

“We continued to explore new opportunities, including entering new markets in the UK, Ireland and Australia, and launched… new products to meet our customers’ needs,” CEO Mark Hews said.

The group released cyber products in Australia, while new markets included “selected health professionals” and property owners.

Investment returns grew to £72.3 million ($128.7 million) from £54.4 million ($96.8 million), underpinned by the strong performance of global equity markets.