Lloyd’s of London reported a 30 percent drop of full-year profit as the world’s largest insurance market was hurt by continued pressure on pricing and the lowest investment returns since at least 2001.
Its combined ratio rose to 90 percent from 88.4 percent amid higher claims in the energy sector and the explosion at Tianjin Port in China. An increase in the ratio indicates a deterioration in profitability.
Earnings declined to 2.1 billion pounds ($3 billion) for 2015 as income from investments, primarily fixed income, sank 60 percent to 400 million pounds, according to the company’s annual report Wednesday. Weaker pricing in 2015 is expected to continue this year, it said.
“We’ve taken a double hit from reduced margins in underwriting and lower investment yield,” Chief Executive Officer Inga Beale said in an interview with Bloomberg Television Wednesday. “On the investment side we saw a dramatic reduction in 2015 that was a massive hit” to earnings.
Beale said the low interest-rate environment and a “healthy” return on capital of 9.1 percent continued to attract new money into the industry, placing further pressure on insurance rates that have already seen double-digit declines.