Lloyd’s of London shrugs off 2017 loss with first-half profit

Lloyd’s of London, the insurance market that covers risks from oil rigs to soccer stars’ legs, said on Friday that it had returned to profit in the first half, following a 2017 loss brought on by a record year for catastrophes.

The specialist insurance and reinsurance market reported a pretax profit of 600 million pounds ($795 million) in the first half, driven by improvements in pricing and growth in some profitable lines. Pretax profit in last year’s first half was 1.2 billion pounds.

Lloyd’s of London, that began life in Edward Lloyd’s coffee house in 1688, focused on cutting costs and improving its underwriting performance after a series of natural catastrophes pushed the specialist insurance market into a 2 billion pound annual loss in 2017, its first in six years.

For the first six months of 2018, Lloyd’s reported a combined ratio, a measure of underwriting profitability, of 95.5 percent from 96.9 percent a year earlier. A number below 100 percent indicates a profit.

The marketplace also reported an improvement in its underwriting result to 500 million pounds in the first half, from 400 million pounds a year earlier.

“We have also worked tirelessly to secure the Lloyd’s market’s access to the EU27 and our Lloyd’s Brussels subsidiary will start writing business in the European Economic Area from 1 January 2019,” Chief Executive, Inga Beale, said, referring to its plans to service European Union clients after Britain leaves the European Union.

The market’s Brussels subsidiary is due to start operating by January 2019.