Aspen Plans $500M Share Repurchase Program

February 5, 2015

Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. announced plans to move ahead with a $500 million share repurchase program in 2015.

The plan is effective through Feb. 6, 2017, and enables Aspen to pursue share repurchases “from time to time” in a number of ways. This latest program follows a similar program that concluded with a nearly $181 million share repurchase effort through 2014.

CEO Chris O’Kane said in prepared remarks that the Bermuda-based insurer and reinsurer would continue share repurchases and dividends “as appropriate, to return to shareholders excess capital that cannot be deployed in the business at our required rates of return.”

Still, O’Kane said he sees Aspen as having held its own in 2014.

“Our performance – achieved despite a dynamic and competitive reinsurance market that has required constant strategic vigilance – reflects our deep client relationships and access to more attractively priced business in reinsurance, as well as the continued successful build out of our U.S. Insurance teams and the innovative insurance solutions we offer our clients around the world,” O’Kane said.

Aspen successfully rebuffed a three-month $3.2 billion merger bid by Bermuda reinsurance rival Endurance Specialty Holdings in July. But beyond that drama, O’Kane focused on another year of heavy reinsurance competition and framed Aspen’s results as being “strong.”

For the year, net income came in at $355.8 million, versus $329.3 million in 2013. Gross written premiums surpassed $2.9 billion for the year, up from $2.6 billion the year before. Net written premiums were up, at $2.5 billion, compared to just under $2.3 billion in 2013. Net earned premiums also performed well, landing at $2.4 billion, a jump over $2.17 billion in the previous fiscal year.

Net investment income for 2014 climbed higher, too, coming in at $190.3 billion, an increase over 2013’s $186.4 million.

For the year, the combined ratio is 91.7, compared to 92.6 in 2013.

Aspen’s 2014 fourth quarter was a bit mixed, even as catastrophe losses declined. Net income for the last three months of the year came in at 67.2 million, down from $90 million in the 2013 fourth quarter. On the other hand, gross written premiums in Q4 2014 were $615.4 million, net written premiums came in at $554 million and net earned premiums surpassed $612 million. In the 2013 fourth quarter, gross written premiums were $604.4 million, net written premiums landed at $548 million and net earned premiums were $572.6 million.

Gross and net written premiums, and net earned premiums for Aspen’s reinsurance business declined during the quarter. The insurance side, however, saw major gains in each area.

The combined ratio for Q4 climbed to 94.1, versus 91.9 in the 2013 fourth quarter, Aspen said.

Source: Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd.