Lloyd's of London sees major claims from Ukraine war

LONDON, March 24 (Reuters) - Lloyd's of London (SOLYD.UL) faces major claims this year related to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but this will not lead to solvency issues, the commercial insurance market said on Thursday.

Lloyd's is asking its member syndicates to give details of their exposure to the conflict, Chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown told Reuters, adding it was too soon to estimate the size of the loss.

Lloyd's has around 100 members that underwrite complex risks such as planes, ships and oil rigs.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

The aviation insurance market is seen as particularly exposed to the impact of what Russia has described as a "special military operation" and of the West's subsequent sanctions.

Global leasing companies face an imminent sanctions deadline for the repossession of more than 400 jets worth almost $10 billion from Russian airlines. Analysts say legal wrangling between airlines, lessors and insurers could last a decade. read more

Lloyd's said business underwritten in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus accounted for less than 1% of the market's total business.

"In terms of our direct exposures, they're quite low. So this is much more about second order impacts, of which aviation will clearly be one and will end up being significant," Carnegie-Brown said.

Some insurance policies kick in as a result of a war, while others do not cover war, making exposures hard to calculate, he said. Policyholders have notified insurers of likely claims, but have yet to file them, he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit Lloyd's hard in 2020, but the market recovered last year after it raised premium rates and excluded the virus from policies.

It posted a 2021 pre-tax profit of 2.3 billion pounds ($3.04 billion), following a 900 million-pound loss in 2020.

"The market’s underwriting discipline will enable sustainable profitability in the years to come, coupled with a balance sheet that can support our ambition to grow profitably," Chief Executive John Neal said in a statement.

($1 = 0.7571 pound)

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Barbara Lewis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.