London market carrier Beazley said it grew gross written premiums (GWP) by around 10 percent in the first quarter to $631mn as the Andrew Horton-led firm noted substantial rate increases across the majority of its underwriting lines.
The largest increase came in the company’s property segment, where its top line rose 29 percent to $108mn on the back of rate changes of around 8 percent helped by “improved underwriting conditions seen in the wake of the high catastrophe frequency experienced at the end of 2017”.
While political, accident and contingency underwriting also grew strongly in three months to the end of March, jumping 14 percent to $67mn, Beazley said rates in that market had actually fallen around 3 percent.
Similarly in specialty lines, where GWP rose 6 percent compared to the prior-year quarter to $295mn, rates came in flat despite a series of heavy losses in the market in the second half of 2017.
In reinsurance the carrier’s written premiums rose 7 percent to $90mn on average rate increases of 7 percent, while marine ticked up 3 percent to $71mn on rate rises of about 2 percent.
Overall Horton hailed what he said had been a “strong start” to the year for the London-listed firm.
“We have also seen rate increases across many lines of business as the market recalibrates its pricing in the wake of the high catastrophe activity seen in late 2017,” he added.
On the investment side, Horton said while the company’s overall return was lower than hoped with a net loss of $1.1mn compared to a gain of $42.5mn in the same period for 2017, he added that “US interest rates are now materially higher which will benefit the business going forward”.
The performance mirrors that of Beazley’s London peer Hiscox, which reported a 20.3 percent rise in its top line in the first quarter as that firm also noted similarly improved pricing levels.