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Lloyd's of London posts H1 loss due to COVID-19 insurance claims

LONDON, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Lloyd’s of London recorded a pretax loss of 400 million pounds ($520.08 million) in the first half, battered by the coronavirus pandemic, the commercial insurance market said on Thursday.

Insurers around the world have paid out on event cancellation, travel, trade credit and business interruption policies due to the virus, with Lloyd’s expecting the global bill for non-life insurers to reach more than $100 billion.

Lloyd’s, whose results are an aggregate of its more than 90 syndicate members, said it would pay out 2.4 billion pounds in COVID-19-related claims in the first half, net of reinsurance.

Its first-half loss compared with a 2.3 billion pound profit in the first half of 2019.

Chief Executive John Neal said the first half had been “an exceptionally challenging period”.

Gross written premiums rose 1.7% to 20 billion pounds.

Combined ratio, a key measure of underwriting profitability, deteriorated to 110.4% from 98.8% a year earlier. A level above 100% indicates an underwriting loss.

Excluding COVID-19 claims, however, combined ratio strengthened to 91.7%, which Neal said represented the positive impact of the market’s “robust approach to performance management”.

Lloyd’s has required its members to ditch their worst-performing lines of business in recent years. ($1 = 0.7691 pounds) (Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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