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Lloyd’s of London back in profit on fewer catastrophes

A general view shows the Lloyd's building in London September 26, 2012. The Lloyd's ofLondon insurance market swung back into profit in the first six months of 2012, after a comparative lack of natural disasters reduced its claims bill by nearly a third, it said on Wednesday.

Neil Hall/Reuters

The Lloyd's of London insurance market returned to profit in 2012, bouncing back from a £516-million pounds ($780-million U.S.) loss in 2011 after claims fell on account of fewer natural disasters.

Pre-tax profits during 2012 reached £2.77-billion, Lloyds said, with net incurred claims falling to £10.1-billion from £12.9-billion a year earlier.

The financial performance of Lloyd's, which started out 324 years ago as a gathering of shipping merchants in a London coffee house, represents the combined results of about 80 competing insurance and reinsurance syndicates.

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Listed companies which operate syndicates at Lloyd's include Catlin, Hiscox and Amlin.

Lloyd's said the 2012 investment return was £1.3-billion, up from £995-million a year earlier.

Claims in 2012 included a $2.2-billion (U.S.) hit from October's Superstorm Sandy in the Caribbean.

However, 2012 proved easier overall on the insurance industry than 2011, the costliest on record for natural catastrophes that included severe earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand and tornadoes in the United States.

Lloyds Chief Executive Richard Ward called it "a strong result" in spite of the Superstorm Sandy hit.

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