Acquisition costs drive Aspen to loss


Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd reported a net after-tax loss of $241.7 million for last year, driven by costs related to the acquisition of the company by funds managed by private-equity firm Apollo Global Management.

Mark Cloutier, executive chairman and chief executive officer of the Bermudian-based re/insurer, said 2019 was “both a challenging and transitional year for our group”.

“While our financial results for 2019 are disappointing, given the impact of deal related costs, restructuring charges and specific actions taken to improve underwriting performance and strengthen reserves, it is rewarding to see that underlying trends in our forward trading businesses are showing significant improvement,” Mr Cloutier said.

“I am confident that the decisive actions we have taken are the right ones and will see us realise our objective of becoming a top quartile specialty re/insurer in the near term.”

The year included the closure of branches in Dubai, Miami, Dublin, and Aspen Risk Management Ltd in the UK as operations were streamlined.

The combined ratio — the proportion of premiums spent on claims and operating expenses — was 108.5 per cent in 2019, weakening from 106.5 per cent in 2018.

Gross written premiums in 2019 were broadly in line with 2018, at $3,442.4 million for 2019, compared to $3,446.9 million for 2018.

General and administrative expenses, excluding non-operating expenses, were $396 million, down from $414.5 million in 2018 with an operating expense ratio of 17.3 per cent compared with 18.7 per cent in 2018.

Investment income was $197.3 million in 2019, down slightly from $198.2 million a year earlier.

Mr Cloutier said: “Since completion of the merger transaction early in the year we have undertaken a number of initiatives targeted at protecting the financial strength of the company, while also driving change geared at improving performance over the medium and longer term — all with a focus on long term total value creation.”

He added: “During 2019, we saw sustained improvement to wider insurance market conditions, including reduced capacity and limits in a number of our core product lines, which has contributed to improving rates, terms, and conditions.

“Within reinsurance, we also saw pockets of corrections over 2018, which extended to improvements in rate across the majority of classes and regions throughout 2019. We have seen these trends continue into 2020.”

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Published Mar 18, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Mar 17, 2020 at 9:22 pm)

Acquisition costs drive Aspen to loss

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