AXIS Capital Holding’s 2019 fourth quarter was a money-loser, culminating a year hampered by Japan’s typhoons and poor U.S. crop conditions, among other obstacles. Still, the company’s results are better overall than the previous year.

The Bermuda-based provider of specialty insurance and reinsurance lost $10 million during the quarter, or $0.12 per diluted share. In the 2018 fourth quarter, AXIS lost $198 million, or $2.37 per diluted share.

Albert Benchimol, president and CEO of AXIS Capital, said that the company improved its bottom line despite a tough quarter and challenging year. Steps taken: Premium hikes and an ongoing process of exiting from unprofitable businesses.

“We did not deliver the financial results we expected in 2019, as our performance suffered from a record typhoon season in Japan, poor crop conditions in the U.S., as well as high loss activity in property and aviation lines,” Benchimol said in prepared remarks. He added that the company has taken steps to improve its ex-cat loss ratios in recent years with progress in both the company’s Insurance and Reinsurance businesses.

“We have brought down PMLs, decreased limits and exited or reduced our participation in underperforming businesses while pushing for more rate across the board,” Benchimol said. “At the same time we’re focused on driving growth in our most attractive lines … and working with our partners in distribution to use our expanding digital capabilities to create new business growth in desirable smaller accounts.”

For the year, AXIS booked $282 million in net income, or $3.34 per common share, versus $0.4 million in 2018.

Here are other result highlights:

  • The company’s combined ratio for Q4 was 107.3, a money-loser, but better than the 117.3 booked in the 2018 fourth quarter.
  • Net investment income came in at $118 million for Q4 2019, $4 million higher than the same period in 2018.
  • Consolidated gross written premiums were $1.3 billion, an 8 percent hike over Q4 2018. The insurance segment premiums grew by 4 percent, and reinsurance premiums jumped by 19 percent.
  • Net premiums written came in at $786 million for Q4 2019, 4 percent higher than the same, year-ago quarter. The number reflects a 22 percent jump in reinsurance premiums, though the insurance segment dipped about 1 percent.
  • For full year 2019, the AXIS combined ratio was 102.6, versus 99.9 in 2018.
  • Gross premiums written were just under $7 billion for full-year 2019, a slight dip from the previous year. Diving deeper, insurance premiums declined 3 percent, but reinsurance premiums grew 4 percent over 2018.
  • Net premiums written for 2019 hit $4.5 billion, down 4 percent from 2018. Broken down, insurance premiums declined 5 percent, and reinsurance premiums dipped 2 percent.

Source: AXIS Capital Holdings