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Noonan upbeat despite Validus’s $250m loss

Validus chairman and CEO Ed Noonan

Validus Holdings Ltd posted a third-quarter net loss of more than a quarter of a billion dollars, driven by heavy catastrophe losses.

However, chairman and chief executive officer Ed Noonan said the hit could have been worse, but for the high quality of underwriting at the Bermudian insurer and reinsurer.

And with heavy losses sweeping the industry, Mr Noonan believes Validus is now in a stronger competitive position.

Validus said its net loss totalled $250.4 million, or $3.17 per share, for the three months ended September 30.

Net catastrophe losses across its insurance and reinsurance businesses, together with its share of losses at AlphaCat, the firm’s alternative capital arm, amounted to $400.8 million.

However, total notable losses — including the AlphaCat segment — were $962.2 million, suggesting that AlphaCat’s third-party investors took a significant hit.

Natural disasters that incurred claims included hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

Validus recorded an operating loss of $254.5 million, or $3.22 per share, just bettering the consensus forecast of a $3.30 per share loss of analysts tracked by Yahoo Finance.

“While results of operations were negative, I am gratified with this outcome which is the result of world-class underwriting, risk, financial and operational management throughout our global businesses,” Mr Noonan said.

“Despite significant natural catastrophes we close the quarter with a very strong balance sheet and a belief that the quarter’s results across the industry have enhanced our competitive position.”

Book value per diluted share fell 6.3 per cent, inclusive of dividends, to $43.13 at September 30 from $46.45 at June 30.

The combined ratio — the proportion of premium dollars spent on claims and expenses — was 138.8 per cent, when only Validus’s share of losses from AlphaCat are included.