Catlin full-year profit jumps on reduced disaster claims

Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:19am EST

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Feb 10 (Reuters) - Bermuda-based insurer Catlin Group Ltd reported a 27 percent rise in full-year profit as net premiums earned rose and it paid off lesser claims related to natural disasters.

Profit before tax rose to $432 million in the year ended Dec. 31 from $339 million a year earlier.

Catlin shares rose as much as 4 percent in early trade on Monday, making the stock one of the biggest percentage gainers on the FTSE-250 midcap index.

Net premiums earned for 2013 rose 9.5 percent. Gross premiums written rose 7 percent with net underwriting contribution of about $1 billion, benefitting from investment in underwriting hubs outside the London market. ()

Net underwriting contribution from non-London hubs was up 83 percent at $480 million.

Catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance and reinstatement premiums, fell to $156 million in 2013 from $225 million a year earlier.

Catlin, the operator of the biggest syndicate in the Lloyd's of London insurance market, remains optimistic amid industry reports of very hard times in 2014 for insurers and reinsurers, Chief Executive Stephen Catlin said in a statement.

"Whilst it is now clear that market conditions are becoming increasingly competitive for many classes of business underwritten by Catlin, margins are still strong," Chairman John Barton said.

The insurer raised its annual dividend to 49.8 cents per share from 46 cents per share.

Shares in Catlin were trading up 2.4 percent at 555 pence at 0816 GMT on Monday on the London Stock Exchange.

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