Interim Management Statement

13-05-2014

Brit PLC (‘Brit’ or ‘the Group’), the global specialty insurer and reinsurer, releases the following Interim Management Statement for the three months ended 31 March 2014.

Key points

  • Gross written premium £336.5m (31 March 2013: £332.6m), an increase of 1.2%. The increase at constant exchange rates was 6.5%.
  • Claims experience in line with expectations and no major loss events.
  • Investment return for the period of £28.6m (net of investment management fees), representing a non-annualised return for the quarter of 1.1% (2013: £24.3m/0.9%).
  • Continued development of US operations, with Brit Global Specialty USA (BGSU) premiums of US$35m, up 69% over the same period in 2013.
  • Agreement signed to assume renewal rights to QBE’s London-based dedicated Lloyd’s aviation business from 1 June.

Mark Cloutier, Group CEO of Brit PLC, said:

‘The Group has made a good start to the year and we are delighted to announce our first interim management statement as Brit PLC. Top line premium growth of 6.5% on a constant exchange rate basis reflects the success of new initiatives and team hires made in 2013. Our focus on optimising the risk adjusted return on our investment portfolio has delivered a solid return for the period of 1.1%.

With respect to growth initiatives, our new Bermuda office has had a successful start to 2014 writing over US$16m of premium and in Q2 we welcome our recently announced UK property team to the platform and the opening of our Miami-based Latin American Office. We are also delighted to announce a renewal rights transaction with QBE which will see Brit inherit a market leading Aviation team from 1 June.

The current market presents both challenges and opportunities. We will continue to build on our highly efficient Lloyd’s-based business model supported by our global distribution network, while maintaining a clear focus on underwriting and pricing discipline.’

Financial performance

Premium

Gross written premium 

3 months ended
31 March 2014
£m

3 months ended
31 March 2013
£m 

Growth

Growth at
contant FX rates

Brit Global Specialty Direct

Brit Global Specialty Reinsurance 

215.7

120.8

199.4

133.2

8.2%

(9.3)% 

13.6%

(4.1)% 

Group 

336.5

332.6

1.2% 

6.5% 

Gross written premium (GWP) for the three months ended 31 March 2014 increased by 1.2% to £336.5m (31 March 2013: £332.6m). At constant exchange rates the movement was an increase of 6.5%. Direct business totalled £215.7m (31 March 2013: £199.4m), a 13.6% increase at constant exchange rates, and reinsurance totalled £120.8m (31 March 2013: £133.2m), a 4.1% decrease at constant exchange rates.

The 13.6% increase in Brit Global Specialty Direct reflects the continued expansion of the Group’s Chicago based US service platform, BGSU, which writes business on behalf of Brit Syndicate 2987. BGSU wrote premiums of US$35.1m in the three months to 31 March 2014, an increase of 69.0% over same period in 2013. The new teams hired in 2013 by Brit Global Specialty London (High Value Homeowners, Political Risks, UK Property and Fine Art & Specie) also contributed to this increase.

The 4.1% reduction in Brit Global Specialty Reinsurance is in line with expectations and reflects challenging market conditions experienced primarily by the Property Treaty book. The Group has maintained underwriting discipline in this environment. This reduction was partly offset by new business written by the Group’s recently established Bermudan Office, which wrote over US$16.4m of premium in the period, of which the majority was Casualty Treaty.

Rate Environment

The overall rate environment has remained challenging with rates across the book falling in line with expectations by 2.5% (31 March 2013: increase of 1.4%). In particular Property Treaty and Energy have experienced pressure on rates, partly offset by increases in a number of direct classes including Marine, Specialist Liability and BGSU.

On the Group’s own reinsurance protections, we have taken advantage of current market conditions to significantly strengthen our group-wide catastrophe cover.

Claims

Claims experience in the three months to 31 March 2014 was in line with expectations. The Group had immaterial exposure to the Malaysian Airlines MH 370 and Korean Ferry losses.

Investments

Investment return for the period was £28.6m (net of investment management expenses) which equates to a non-annualised return for the period of 1.1% (2013: £24.3m/0.9%). The return benefitted from a tightening of credit spreads in the US over the quarter. Total investment assets were £2.63bn at 31 March 2014.

Business Development

In January 2014, Brit announced the appointment of three senior underwriters to develop a new UK property portfolio. This new team, headed by David Hancock, will join Brit in the second quarter of 2014 and will form part of the Brit Global Specialty Property Facilities Division.

In April, Brit announced that Juan Calvache will join the Group in May to lead its new Miami-based Latin American business. The office will focus on expanding BGSU’s successful US Facultative Property platform into the Latin American and Caribbean markets, in line with Brit’s strategy of growing efficiently and profitably into international markets. Prior to joining Brit, Juan spent over a decade with Partner Re where he built the Property Facultative team.

Today, Brit is delighted to announce the signing of an agreement with QBE Underwriting Limited to acquire the renewal rights to their London-based dedicated Lloyd’s Aviation business. As part of the agreement, it is intended that all QBE’s London-based aviation underwriting and claims staff will transfer to Brit. Brit will begin writing renewals of the assumed business into Syndicate 2987 on completion, expected to be on 1 June.

Matthew Wilson, CEO of Brit Global Specialty, commented: ‘This transaction presents an excellent opportunity for Brit to assume a market leading team of highly experienced underwriters in a business line where Lloyd’s has significant scale and relevance on a global basis. This type of transaction once again highlights Brit’s commitment to grow opportunistically and profitably. The further diversification that this line of business brings to the Group, alongside Brit’s attractive Lloyd’s capital structure and scalable operating platform gives us confidence that this will be accretive to the Group in the short term.’

For further information, please contact

Sam Dobbyn, Brit PLC +44 (0) 20 7984 8800
Tom Burns / Edward Moore, Brunswick +44 (0) 20 7404 5959