StockMarketWire.com - Beazley reported Thursday annual profits more than halved as underwriting losses in its property insurance and reinsurance division offset a rise in gross premiums written.

For the year ended 31 December, profit before tax fell to $76.4m from $168m a year earlier, while gross premiums written increased by 12% to $2,615.3m.

Profits were hurt by underwriting losses in our property insurance and reinsurance business, which pressured the combined ratio for the group to 98% for the year, from 99% a year earlier, and weighed on investment returns.

Claims arising from the 2018 natural catastrophes and a higher level of attritional claims from prior underwriting years, saw the property division record overall loss of $80.4m for year, compared with last year's $68.3m loss.

'Our business confronted some stiff headwinds in 2018, which impacted both our underwriting and investment returns.,' the company said. 'By contrast, we enter 2019 with some moderate tailwinds: firmer pricing for some lines of business and higher interest rates to underpin our investment returns.'



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