31 October 2014Re/insurance

Sirius & OneBeacon see solid growth in Q3

Sirius Group and OneBeacon, subsidiaries of White Mountains Insurance Group, have seen a strong third quarter, despite a fall in profits in their parent company.

The company’s profits hit $52 million in the third quarter and $243 million in the first nine months of 2014, compared with $57 million and $204 million in the third quarter and first nine months of 2013.

White Mountains’ reinsurance segment, Sirius Group, saw top line growth as its gross written premiums increased 10 percent to $261 million and net written premiums increased 11 percent to $218 million. The reinsurer said this primarily reflected increases in the accident and health and other property and aviation lines but was somewhat offset by a decrease in property catastrophe excess business.

Its combined ratio improved 10 percentage points to 79 percent, compared with 89 percent for the third quarter of 2013. The combined ratio for the 2014 period benefited from lower catastrophe losses compared with 2013. The third quarter of 2014 included 6 points ($15 million) of catastrophe losses, including $4 million from hurricane Odile and $4 million from hailstorms in Bulgaria, compared to 14 points ($31 million) of catastrophe losses in the third quarter of last year, primarily from hailstorm losses in Germany.

OneBeacon’s net written premiums hit $346 million in the third quarter and $953 million in the first nine months of 2014, increases of 10 percent and 15 percent from last year.

Mike Miller, chief executive officer (CEO) of OneBeacon, said: "Our book value was unchanged in the quarter, driven by flat investment returns. Our 95 percent combined ratio reflects continued strong underwriting results for most of our business units. Through nine months, book value increased 7 percent due to solid underwriting and investments results. We remain focused on closing the runoff sale during the fourth quarter."

Ray Barrette, chairman and chief executive officer, said: "It was a flat quarter. Investment returns were lackluster as a small gain in bonds was offset by a loss in equities and a $7 per share loss from currency.

“OneBeacon had a solid quarter with a 95 percent combined ratio and is on track to close the runoff sale in the fourth quarter. Sirius Group results continue to be excellent as they reported a 79 percent combined ratio. BAM's insured portfolio topped $10 billion of par outstanding, although pricing remains below target.

“In October, we completed a majority investment in TRANZACT, a company that provides end-to-end customer acquisition solutions to the insurance sector. Between our investments in insurance services and share repurchases, we have deployed over $300 million so far this year."