By CYRIL TUOHY, managing editor of Risk & Insurance®
Bermuda-based (re)insurers, helped by strong investment returns, a dearth of claims in the wake of a quiet hurricane season and favorable reserve developments, turned in a strong 2009 fourth quarter.
Two companies in particular, PartnerRe Ltd. and Validus Holdings Ltd., were also successful thanks to big acquisitions.
PartnerRe Ltd., which closed on its acquisition of Paris Re in the fourth quarter, reported net income of $354.3 million, compared with $95.2 million in the year-ago period. Fourth-quarter nonlife net premiums written were $747.0 million, up 20 percent from the year-ago period due to the inclusion of Paris Re's net premiums, PartnerRe also reported.
"The acquisition of Paris Re means we are a larger and stronger company with an attractively priced, balanced portfolio of risks," said PartnerRe CEO Patrick Thiele, in a statement. "This, together with our strong market position and active capital allocation, will hold us in good stead through 2010. Barring any unusually large loss events in the year, we expect to achieve our financial goals."
Validus Holdings Ltd., which bought IPC Holdings Ltd. last year, reported fourth-quarter net income of $165.8 million compared with $37 million for the year-ago period.
Validus, which specializes in insuring and reinsuring catastrophe and other short-tail risks in the property, marine and specialty segments, also reported fourth-quarter net premiums written of $224.8 million, up 19 percent compared with the year-ago period.
The IPC merger added $380.8 million to Validus' $1.3 billion in net written premiums for the full-year 2009, Validus also reported.
"We were able to grow the combined premium of Validus Re post acquisition, while bringing more diversification to our risk profile," said Chairman and CEO Ed Noonan, in a statement.
Net income at Allied World Assurance Co. Holdings Ltd. rose to $161.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with net income of $19.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2008, the company reported.
Net premiums written increased 3.2 percent to $233.7 million in the fourth quarter compared with the year-ago period, as the company expanded its footprint in the United States while reducing its underwriting exposure to international property, energy and professional liability risks, Allied World also reported.
Arch Capital Group Ltd. reported fourth-quarter net income of $284.7 million compared with a net loss of $143.0 million for the year-ago period. Net written premiums declined to $519.0 million from $615.5 million in the year-ago period as the company declined to renew contracts in the marine and other specialty lines, Arch also reported.
Axis Capital Holdings Ltd., the international specialty lines insurer and treaty reinsurer, reported net income for the fourth quarter of $282 million compared with net income of $131 million for the corresponding period in 2008. Fourth-quarter net written premiums rose 5.4 percent to $357.9 million, the company also reported.
Losses from professional liability lines hit hard by the global financial crisis made for "extremely challenging competitive conditions," said Axis Capital President and CEO John Charman in a statement.
Endurance Specialty Holdings Inc., a global specialty insurer and reinsurer, reported fourth-quarter net income of $154.8 million versus net income of $16.9 million for the year-ago period.
Strong investment portfolio performance and "solid underwriting results" helped the company in the fourth quarter, said Chairman, President and CEO Kenneth J. LeStrange, in a statement.
The company also reported fourth-quarter net premiums written of $146.4 million, a drop of 18.7 percent over the year-ago period. Net premiums written in the company's insurance segment plunged 37.5 percent to $88.4 million due to the firm's exit from the California workers' compensation marketplace and from property insurance lines in the United Kingdom.
Fourth-quarter net premiums written in the reinsurance segment of $58.0 million was up 50.2 percent compared with the year-ago period, primarily from growth in the casualty lines segment, the company also reported.
Flagstone Reinsurance Holdings Ltd., the global re(insurer) focused on specialty, property, property-catastrophe and short-tail casualty risks, reported fourth-quarter net income of $71.5 million compared with a net loss of $75.6 million for the year-ago quarter.
Fourth-quarter net written premiums also rose, to $102.8 million compared with $84.4 million in the year-ago period.
"The acceleration in premium growth in the fourth quarter and for the year reflects the significant business we are seeing from both our global platform primarily from the inclusion of business from our operation at Lloyd's, which continues to ramp up as far as the business production is concerned," said CEO David Brown in a press release.
Max Capital Group Ltd., a diversified global specialty (re)insurance company, reported fourth-quarter net income of $62.6 million compared with a net loss of $94.1 million for the year-ago period. Net premiums written increased 57.4 percent to $173.5 million, the company also reported.
The company grew by underwriting new business in short-tail lines as long-tail lines were hit with softer pricing, said W. Marston (Marty) Becker, chairman and CEO Max Capital Group Ltd., in a press release.
Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd., a provider of short-tail reinsurance and other specialty lines, reported fourth-quarter net income of $105 million compared with a net loss of $47.7 million for the year-ago period. The company also reported fourth quarter net written premiums of $74.2 million, up from $73.5 million in the year-ago period.
February 23, 2010
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