- Lancashire Holdings' posts a pre-tax loss of $136.4m for the three months to the end of September against a profit of $42.9m a year ago.

The group reported a pre-tax loss for the first nine months of $69.7m against a profit of $99.5m a year ago.

Gross written premiums rose to $143.0m in the third quarter - up from $108.2m last time.

Group chief executive Alex Maloney said: 'In July I reported on the generally lower level of catastrophe losses during 2017 and the resultant continued downwards pricing pressures on insurance risk.

'In contrast, the last couple of months have witnessed a series of damaging hurricanes in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and US coastal regions and two significant earthquakes in Mexico.

'These have tragically devastated and disrupted lives and livelihoods, wreaking havoc in communities and businesses.

'These events have been a stark reminder that we operate in the risk business. We offer insurance and reinsurance products which respond to catastrophic loss events which are irregular and unpredictable in their short term frequency and severity.

'At such times Lancashire expects to pay losses, and this is reflected in our results for the third quarter and the year to date.

'These events also show the value of our strategic priorities.

'Our discipline as underwriters means that we prioritise the appropriate risk selection for all stages of the insurance cycle.

'In risk management we continuously monitor and moderate our net risk exposures, in particular through the use of a sensibly structured reinsurance programme.

'In our capital management we ensure that we hold sufficient capital to meet the current and future needs of our business, returning to our investors the capital we do not need for our business requirements.

'Although it is still too early for the precise quantification of market losses, it is clear that catastrophe underwriters industry-wide have experienced losses of many billions of dollars, which will have depleted capital and stressed balance sheets across the global insurance sector.

'For Lancashire our estimated net losses fall comfortably within our expectations for such catastrophe events, serving as further evidence of our disciplined approach to underwriting.

'After many years of soft pricing conditions we are at last seeing some evidence of an increase in pricing, particularly in catastrophe exposed lines. The first major test of the market dynamics will be the year-end insurance and reinsurance renewal round.

'Many product lines will be loss-affected and I would expect to see a return across the sector to more disciplined underwriting standards and pricing which reflects the true risks and exposures.'

Group chief financial officer Elaine Whelan said: 'The third quarter of 2017 witnessed an extraordinary level of loss activity. With the occurrence of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the Mexican earthquakes, the industry has incurred substantial losses.

'We have recorded a net loss across our three platforms from these events of $165.0 million, after recoveries and the impact of inwards and outwards reinstatement premiums.

'Our RoE is negative 10.4% and our combined ratio is 213.3% for the third quarter of 2017.

'Our RoE for the year to date is negative 5.1%.

'While we have incurred a loss in the quarter and for the year to date, we anticipate an improvement in rates following these events.

'Our outlook for 2018 is more positive than it has been for some time.'

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