November 1, 2018 / 7:48 AM / 20 days ago

Drop in catastrophe claims helps insurer Lancashire

(Reuters) - Property and casualty insurer Lancashire Holdings Ltd (LRE.L) declared a $0.20 per share special dividend on Thursday as it reported a fall in its third quarter loss thanks to a drop in catastrophe claims.

Lancashire, which offers insurance schemes for heavy-duty assets such as oil rigs, ships and aircraft, last month warned of catastrophe losses of $25 million to $45 million from recent hurricanes and typhoons.

That led to a negative return-on-equity (ROE) in the third quarter of 2.2 percent compared with a negative ROE of 11.9 percent reported a year earlier.

That was better than last year, however, and its pretax loss narrowed to $25.3 million from $136.4 million a year ago, when it was paying out for the damage caused by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as a series of Mexican earthquakes.

The company said the third quarter was “at least as active as 2017” in terms of the number of events to impact the industry, but insured losses were smaller.

“Overall, rates are directionally up on last year and, pleasingly, we continue to see rates improving across our specialty lines of business,” Chief Executive Officer Alex Maloney said in a statement.

Lancashire also said gross written premiums fell 19.4 percent to $115.2 million, hurt by a 30.8 percent fall in its property business that was also partly due to reinstatement premiums related to the hurricanes.

(Removes erroneous text from paragraph 4.)

Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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