8 February 2017Insurance

Sirius sale boosts White Mountains results; CEO mulls use for undeployed capital

Profits soared at Bermuda-based insurer White Mountains in 2016 boosted by one-off gains from selling units including Sirius Group. The company also revealed it is sitting on a large amount of undeployed capital and is “looking for opportunities” to use this.

White Mountains made a net profit of $413 million for 2016, up from $298 million in 2015. In the last quarter of 2016, however, the company made a net loss of $33 million compared to $268 million in the same period a year ago.

"It was an OK last quarter in a successful year for White Mountains,” said Ray Barrette, chairman and CEO.

During 2016, White Mountains sold its units Sirius, Symetra, and Tranzact.

The 2016 results included a gain from the sale of Sirius group, net of tax, of $363.2 million and $51.9 million from the Tranzact sale. White Mountains’ net income from continuing operations was $5.0 million in 2016 compared to $157.5 million in 2015.

Post Sirius sale, investment returns of 2.7 percent were “a bit disappointing as we were under allocated to equities, in a rising stock market,” Barrette noted.

The company returned $900 million to shareholders, mostly through share repurchases but still holds about $1.8 billion in undeployed capital. Therefore, White Mountains is “looking for opportunities, well positioned to deal with a world full of unpredictable developments," Barrette explained.

Bermuda-domiciled holding company OneBeacon reported a combined ratio 97 percent in 2016, compared to 96 percent in 2015.

Mike Miller, CEO of OneBeacon, said: "Underwriting results reflect the strong performance of our portfolio of specialty businesses. Going into 2017, we are positioned to continue delivering good underwriting results across our diverse portfolio of businesses."

OneBeacon’s net written premiums were $1.1 billion in 2016, down 3 percent year-on-year.

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More on this story

3 March 2017   Bermuda-based White Mountains Insurance Group has elected Manning Rountree as chief executive officer (CEO) with immediate effect, succeeding Ray Barrette, who is retiring from the company.
7 March 2017   Bermuda-based OneBeacon Insurance Group has appointed Manning Rountree as class III director, succeeding Ray Barrette who has retired from the company and its parent White Mountains.
4 April 2017   Bermuda-headquartered re/insurance company Sirius International has acquired US-based healthcare specialist ArmadaCorp Capital to boost its accident and health (A&H) insurance business.