- Property and casualty insurer Lancashire Holdings said it would pay shareholders a special dividend after reporting Thursday a narrower third-quarter loss even as gross premiums written fell.

Lancashire said it would return about $40.0m of capital in the form of a special dividend as it did not anticipate needing any more capital following further enhancements in the its reinsurance program.

For the three months ended 30 September, losses before tax narrowed to $25.3m from $136.4m a year earlier, while gross written premiums fell to $115.2m from $143m a year earlier.

The company blamed the poor performance on the impact of the accumulation of a number of loss events.

For 2019, the company said it expected a continuation of current market trends.

The company reported a negative return on equity of 1.9% for the quarter, while its year-to-date combined ratio stood at 86.9%.

'I believe we will have a growth opportunity in 2019 in our specialty lines. The risk exposures in our property catastrophe lines are likely to remain at similar levels as for 2018, although we remain open to opportunities in these classes too,' said Alex Maloney, Group Chief Executive Officer.

'Finally, I am pleased that we will be paying our shareholders a special dividend of $0.20 per share.'

At 9:10am: [LON:LRE] Lancashire Holdings Ltd share price was +15p at 606.5p

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