'Fewer Disasters' Puts Lloyd's Back In Profit
The famous Lloyd's of London insurance market swung back into profit in the first six months of 2012 after a comparative lack of natural catastrophes reduced its claims by nearly a third.
Lloyd's said it made a profit of £1.5bn until June 30, compared with a loss of £697m a year earlier, when it paid out billions in claims because of earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand.
"This is a welcome return to profit for the market, after a six-month period that could not be in greater contrast to the first half of 2011," chief executive Richard Ward said in a statement.
"The result has certainly been helped by the favourable claims climate. But it is a testament to the market's disciplined underwriting that... it is able to return the strongest half-year result for five years."
The market absorbed total claims of £4.6bn in the first half of the year, net of reinsurance.
Lloyds, which traces its origins back 324 years to a London coffee house where merchants met to insure ships, crashed to its second worst annual loss in 2011 as insurers paid out a near-record $116bn (£71.75bn) in natural catastrophe claims.
The market's financial performance represents the combined results of about 80 competing insurance and reinsurance syndicates that operate under its banner.
During the 1990s climbing asbestos claims from the US nearly caused the collapse of Lloyd's as so-called names struggled to meet their liabilities.