Natural catastrophes push Lloyd's of London to 2 billion pounds 2017 loss

Reuters

Reuters

Lloyd's of London has slumped to its first loss for six years after a string of devastating hurricanes and earthquakes in 2017 sent it tumbling by £2 billion into the red.

A doorman stands outside the Lloyd's of London building in the City of London financial district in London, Britain, February 1, 2018.

The Lloyd's of London market, which has 80 syndicate members, reported a 2017 pretax loss of 2 billion pounds ($2.80 billion) on Wednesday, compared with a pretax profit of 2.1 billion pounds in 2016.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, along with an natural disaster in Mexico, wildfires in California, monsoon flooding in Bangladesh and a mudslide in Colombia, cost the Lloyd's market £4.5bn in claims, more than double the previous year when it paid out £2.1bn.

Lloyd's said that after a number of "relatively benign" catasrophe years, the frequency and scale of disasters that affected the world in the second half of last year meant major claims costing the Lloyd's market £4.5bn.

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Chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown said Lloyd's had to date paid more than 50% of claims resulting from Harvey, Irma and Maria and is in the process of paying the rest. Like many firms at Lloyd's, they also operate outside the Lloyd's market. "As a result the market is embracing new ways of working".

Lloyd's capital position remains robust and our ratings with the leading ratings agencies remain at A (excellent) from A.M. Best, A+ (strong) from Standard & Poor's and AA- (very strong) from Fitch. Publicly traded Lloyd's underwriters Beazley and Hiscox have already reported tumbling annual profits.

It aims to get a licence for its Brussels subsidiary so that it is operational by July and ready to write business by Jan 1 2019, according to its annual report.

Its chief executive, Inga Beale, was paid 1.3 million pounds past year, down 14.5 percent from 2016, the annual report showed.

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