September 26, 2012 / 6:25 AM / 5 years ago

Lloyd's of London back in profit as disaster claims drop

LONDON (Reuters) - The 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.

The headquarters of Lloyd's of London is seen in the City of London May 13, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Lloyd’s on Wednesday said it made a profit of 1.5 billion pounds in the first half, compared with a loss of 697 million pounds 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 market absorbed total claims of 4.6 billion pounds 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 $116 billion (71.7 billion pounds) 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.

Reporting by Myles Neligan; editing by Sinead Cruise

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