* H1 pretax profit 7 mln stg vs 17 mln yr ago
* Investment return 17.7 mln stg vs 34.6 mln
* Underwriting ops loss of 16.4 mln stg vs profit 28.6 mln
LONDON, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Lloyd’s of London insurer Chaucer CHU.L reported a 59 percent drop in first-half profits after a high number of catastrophes, including the Chilean earthquake and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, hit underwriting profits. Chaucer had a pretax profit of 7 million pounds ($10.79 million) in the first half, compared with 17 million pounds in the previous year, while the group’s underwriting operations swung to a loss.
The non-life insurer said loss estimates for the Chilean earthquake, the European windstorm Xynthia and Deepwater Horizon disaster remain unchanged at approximately $50 million.
The company described the period as “an exceptional period for manmade and natural catastrophes (which) affected the results of the Property, Energy and Marine Divisions”.
Investment profits also fell in the period to 17.7 million pounds against 34.6 million in the previous year.
Shares in Chaucer closed at 46 pence on Wednesday, valuing the company at 253.9 million pounds.
(Reporting by Lorraine Turner; editing by Sarah Young)