(Re)insurer cuts full-year GWP estimate due to market conditions

Bermuda-based (re)insurer Aspen Insurance Holdings made a net profit of $127.2m in the first half of 2010, 37% down on the $201.8m it made in the same period of 2009. The income drop came despite at 6.6% boost in gross written premiums to $1.25bn. Aspen’s second quarter profit was $108.9m, down 1.4% from 2009’s $110.4m

Aspen’s first half combined ratio jumped to 98.4% in 2010 from 86% in 2009. However, the combined ratio for the second quarter alone improved slightly to 86.9% from 87.7%.

Despite the declines, Aspen CEO Chris O'Kane praised the firm’s second quarter annualised return on equity of 15.6%, which was achieved despite tough market conditions. However, he added: “We do not expect rating pressure to abate and underwriting discipline remains our watchword."

In light of the losses from the Chilean earthquake and the general market conditions, characterized by softening rates in most lines, Aspen expects its combined ratio for the full year to be in the range of 92% to 98% including a catastrophe load of $110m for the remainder of the year, assuming normal loss experience.

In light of the market outlook the company has cut its full-year gross written premium estimate to $2.1bn from $2.2bn, with ceded premium between 8% and 10% of gross earned premium.