- Insurance company Beazley more than trebled profit for the year as strong investment returns offset a higher combined ratio amid heightened claims activity.

For the year ended 31 December 2019, pre-tax profit rose to $267.7m from $76.4m and gross premiums written increased by 15% to $3,003.9m on-year.

Three of its six divisions achieved double-digit growth in premiums, the insurer said.

The combined ratio was increased to 100% from 98% in 2018, driven by an adverse claims experience across several lines of business, which led to reduced prior year reserve releases, it added.

The company declared a second interim dividend of 8.2p, up from 7.8p last year, taking full year dividends for the year to 12.3p, up from 11.7p last year.

Beazley said its ongoing provisions for rising claims should result in an improved underwriting performance in 2020, with further improvement expected in 2021.

'Over the past two years, we have seen premium rates on renewal business rise cumulatively by more than 10% for half of our book. We expect rates to continue to rise through 2020,' it added.

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