Privately-owned Lloyd’s insurer and reinsurer Canopius — which operates in Bermuda, Singapore, Ireland and Switzerland — yesterday [Mar. 15] announced its first ever loss of £64 million before tax [2010: profit of £40 million], with catastrophes adding 24 points to its combined ratio bringing it to 111%.
Gross written premiums were up 9% to £616 million [2010: £564 million], while the January renewal season saw average rate increases of 3.8%.
Canopius claimed its attritional loss ratio was 55% [2010:48%] demonstrating an “underlying core profitability”. Its investment return of £3 million [2010: £24 million] was just a 0.4% return on average invested funds.
The loss to shareholders after tax totalled £61 million [2010: profit of £43 million] giving it a return on equity, post tax, of -22% [2010: 15.0%]. Net tangible assets attributable to shareholders fell to £239 million [2010: £303 million]. Group financial resources dipped to £367 million [2010: £429 million].
Michael Watson, executive chairman of Canopius, commented: “The string of natural catastrophe events during 2011 resulted in the first loss in our eight-year history and was magnified by our weighting towards international business.
“Whilst we are disappointed, we are not downhearted. 2011 was another year of good progress for Canopius, including the successful recruitment of new teams and the launch of additional platforms that ensure we are well positioned to continue expanding our franchise.
“Our group’s financial position remains robust. We are increasing the overall scale of our businesses in 2012 and will continue to look at further opportunities for growth, both organic and through merger and acquisition.”