Lloyd’s of London profits quadruple on investment gains

The interior of the Lloyd's of London building is seen in the City of London financial district in London. (Reuters)
Updated 18 September 2019

Lloyd’s of London profits quadruple on investment gains

  • Specialist insurer reports first-half pre-tax profit of $2.87 billion

LONDON: The 330-year old specialist insurance market Lloyd's of London reported a first-half pre-tax profit of 2.3 billion pounds ($2.87 billion) on Thursday, up nearly fourfold on investment gains and a cutback in underperforming business.
Lloyd's, which covers commercial risks from oil risks to footballers' legs, suffered steep losses in 2017 and 2018 due to natural catastrophes such as hurricanes, typhoons and wildfires.
Lloyd's last year told its 99 member syndicates to ditch the worst performing 10% of their businesses.
"It is encouraging that the Lloyd's market is showing increased discipline in 2019," Chief Executive John Neal said in a statement.
"We need to make some brave choices on how to meet the expectations of our customers and all our stakeholders in the future."
The market has proposed its members move to electronic exchanges next year, as it responds to competition from cheaper rivals.
Further details of the strategic changes will be released on Sept 30.
Net investment income rose to 2.3 billion pounds from 0.2 billion a year earlier, helped by strong equity returns.
Gross written premiums rose 1.7% to 19.7 billion pounds but the company's combined ratio, a measure of underwriting performance in which a level below 100% indicates a profit, weakened to 98.8% from 95.5%.
The results compare with a profit of 0.6 billion pounds a year ago.
Premium rates rose by an average of 3.9%, Lloyd's said.
Lloyd's in May asked the Banking Standards Board to conduct a survey of the insurance market's 45,000 participants on issues such as honesty and respect to help to improve its working environment, following allegations of sexual harassment at member firms.
The survey will be published on Sept 24, Neal said on Thursday.


Argentina issues decree making it harder for businesses to fire workers

Updated 14 December 2019

Argentina issues decree making it harder for businesses to fire workers

  • Current inflation in the country is above 50%
  • New economy minister said the new administration will emphasize economic growth over the deficit reduction program

BUENOS AIRES: Argentine workers fired without just cause over the next 180 days will be paid double the normal exit package under a decree announced over the weekend, as the new government breaks with the pro-business stance of the previous administration.
The “Decree of Need and Urgency” says in cases of dismissal without just cause during the term of the decree, “the affected workers will have the right to receive double the corresponding compensation in accordance with current legislation.”
Peronist President Alberto Fernandez was sworn in on Tuesday, promising an end to outgoing leader Mauricio Macri’s pro-business policies, as inflation roars at above 50%, poverty increases and economic growth sputters.
The new economy minister on Wednesday said Macri’s fiscal tightening measures had failed, and that the new administration would emphasize economic growth over the deficit reduction program that was at the heart of Macri’s push to re-integrate Argentina with the international financial markets.
Argentina’s unemployment rate rose to 10.6% in the second quarter of 2019, a percentage point higher than a year earlier, the government said in a press release announcing the decree.
Young people were especially hard hit, it said, with young women suffering a jobless rate of 24%.
“By decision of President Alberto Fernandez, the public emergency in occupational matters is declared in view of the need to stop the aggravation of the labor crisis,” the press release announcing the decree said.