White Mountains sees 2016 profit boosted by Sirius sale


White Mountains saw its profits rise in 2016 thanks to one-off gains like its sale of Sirius, but conceded that the last quarter of the year had been difficult.

The company added that it is looking for opportunities to use a large amount of undeployed capital.

In 2016 White Mountains made a net profit of $413 million, up from the previous year’s figure of $298 million. 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.

Over the course of 2016, White Mountains sold its units Sirius, Symetra, and Tranzact. As a result 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.

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

White Mountains’ 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.

White Mountains, Results 2016, Sirius Group, Bermuda, OneBeacon

Bermuda Re