6 February 2015 Insurance

Aspen posts solid year despite reinsurance contraction

Bermuda-based Aspen Insurance has posted a strong set of results for 2014, despite its reinsurance book shrinking in the fourth quarter.

Its gross written premiums (GWP) increased by 9.7 percent to $2.9 billion for the year ended December 31, 2014, compared with $2.6 billion in 2013.

Aspen’s reinsurance segment posted GWP growth of 3.4 percent for 2014 to $1.2 billion, compared with $1.1 billion in 2013. This is despite a 17.5 percent decrease in GWP in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared with the fourth quarter of 2013.

Driving growth at the company was Aspen’s insurance segment, which grew 14.4 percent in GWP in 2014 to $1.7 billion, compared with $1.5 billion in 2013. Aspen said GWP increased across all segments, especially property and casualty and marine, aviation and energy lines, primarily resulting from the continued growth from the US teams.

The insurance segment posted underwriting income of $50.7 million, an increased compared with an underwriting loss of $43.9 million in 2013.

Aspen’s profits grew to $355.8 million in 2014, compared with $329.3 million in 2013 and its combined ratio improved slightly to 91.7 percent for the year, compared with 92.6 percent in 2013.

Chris O’Kane, chief executive officer (CEO) of Aspen, said: “In 2014 Aspen achieved book value per share growth of 10.3 percent and a strong operating return on equity of 11.5 percent. Our performance - achieved despite a dynamic and competitive reinsurance market that has required constant strategic vigilance - reflects our deep client relationships and access to more attractively priced business in reinsurance, as well as the continued successful build out of our US insurance teams and the innovative insurance solutions we offer our clients around the world.”

Stephen Postlewhite, CEO of reinsurance, added: “Reinsurance had a very strong performance in 2014. For the full year we grew premiums slightly while achieving an accident year ex cat loss ratio of 50.9 percent. At the important January 1, 2015 renewal season we continued our trajectory of modest growth while maintaining our underwriting discipline.

“As a result of our client relationships and access to risk, we were able to withdraw capital from areas where rates and terms and conditions did not meet our requirements and deploy it in areas where the business was better rated. While there was continued rate pressure in property cat we were able to renew the rest of our book, which accounts for approximately 70 percent of the total renewal, with rates down only 3 percent.”

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