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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance

Lloyd's first-half profit jumps after investments boost

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Lloyd’s today revealed its first-half profit before tax has jumped to £2.3 billion ($4.2 billion) from £600 million ($1.1 billion) in the year-earlier period, after the result was boosted by an improved investment result.

“We are pleased to report a profit during the first six months,” CEO John Neal said. “However, we recognise the importance of continued focus on performance management to maintain this momentum throughout the rest of 2019 and beyond.”

Gross written premium increased 1.8% to £19.7 billion ($35.8 billion), but the elimination of exchange rate movements and growth from new syndicates pointed to a “like-for-like, year-on-year reduction” of 2.6%.

The move reflected the net impact of a 6.5% reduction in business volumes as underwriters adjusted their books to improve performance and average risk adjusted rate increases of 3.9%.

Net investment income was £2.3 billion ($4.2 billion), up from £200 million ($363 million) a year earlier, on benefits from unrealised gains due to reducing US and UK bond yields as well as robust returns from equities. The combined operating ratio deteriorated to 98.8% from 95.5%

Mr Neal says it is encouraging that the Lloyd’s market is showing increased discipline, as shown by the GWP reduction and an improvement in the attritional loss ratio for the current underwriting year.

“At the same time as ensuring that our market can deliver sustainable profitable growth, we need to make some brave choices on how to meet the expectations of our customers and all our stakeholders in the future,” he said.

The market is in the process of developing its strategy document, The Future at Lloyd’s, with the first blueprint to be published on September 30.