Aspen swings back to profit


Bermuda re/insurer Aspen has reported improved performance in the first half, reflecting a more disciplined and focussed approach and a simpler business, according to head Mark Cloutier. The improvement is despite losses from the North American winter storm and an increased COVID-19 provision.

The business reported a net income after tax of $87.4 million for the six months to the end of June, compared with a net loss of $172.8m in the same period last year. That included an underwriting profit, including corporate expenses, of $33.3 million, against losses of $108.9m over the first half of 2020. Gross written premiums were $2,018.5 million down from $2,118.6m.

The combined ratio of 98.0% over the period compared to 110.1% in the same six months last year includes a 5.3 percentage point impact from legacy business. It was helped by comparatively light cat losses of $84.5m over the period. That compares to $231.3m in the first half of 2020, which included $187.3m of losses associated with COVID-19.

The fall in Aspen’s gross written premium was largely due to the disposal of its US crop reinsurance business in the fourth quarter of 2020. Casualty reinsurance, property catastrophe reinsurance and other property reinsurance all grew. So did its insurance business, with premiums of $1,122.2 million in the six months up from $996.3 million. Casualty, liability and financial and professional lines all saw growth, supported by improved market conditions. First-party and specialty lines shrank, though, with Aspen existing some lines following strategic reviews.

 “We are at heart an underwriting business, and I am, therefore, encouraged that we are continuing on the journey to becoming a more disciplined, focused and performance-driven global specialty re/insurer,” said Cloutier, group executive chairman and chief executive officer.

“Over the past 18 months, we have actively taken the decision to non-renew circa $800m of business, while at the same time, in the first half of this year, we have largely delivered double-digit growth in our continuing lines where we are seeing continued improvement in rate, terms and conditions. That level of growth illustrates how we are now well-positioned to respond to market opportunities. We believe the reshaping of our portfolio will be positively reflected in our results with our evolving portfolio focused on the areas where Aspen is best placed to deliver sustainable and scalable returns to our shareholders.”

Losses, Reinsurance, Property & Casualty, COVID-19, Aspen, North America, Mark Cloutier, Insurance, profit, winter, storm, performance

Bermuda Re