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Axis reports $151m full-year loss

Tremendous challenge: Albert Benchimol, CEO of Axis Capital (File photograph)

Axis Capital reported a net loss of $151 million for 2020, a year that its chief executive officer Albert Benchimol described as “a tremendous challenge”.

The net loss broke down to $1.79 per common share, and the full-year operating loss was $174 million, or $2.08 per share.

In the fourth quarter, the Bermudian re/insurer was hit with pre-tax catastrophe and weather-related losses of $198 million, net of reinsurance and reinstatement premiums. These losses included the previously disclosed amount of $125 million, or 11.6 points, attributable to the Covid-19 pandemic

Fourth-quarter net loss was $5 million, or six cents per share, and the operating loss was $16 million, or 20 cents per share, beating analysts’ consensus forecast of a 40 cents per share loss.

Mr Benchimol said: “This was a year of tremendous challenge. First and foremost, our thoughts are with the people and families afflicted by Covid-19 and those whose lives were upended by extreme weather.

“For our business, the combined impact of the pandemic which affected both our underwriting and investment results and elevated hurricane activity that made 2020 the fifth costliest cat year on record, led to disappointing financial results that overshadowed significant underlying progress.

"In 2020, Axis materially strengthened our core performance, highlighted by a year-over-year improvement of 4.6 points to our current accident year combined ratio ex-cat and weather. This progress in our underwriting metrics demonstrates that all of the work that we’ve done in recent years to reposition our portfolio and drive targeted growth in our most attractive markets is delivering tangible results.

"In addition, I’m proud of our team for stepping up in the face of adversity. We never missed a beat in delivering excellent service and claims support to our clients – and we stayed true to our values, supporting our people, customers, and communities.

"We begin 2021 with positive momentum and confidence. We have great talent, deep relationships with our clients and partners in distribution, a strong and balanced book of business, and leadership positions in markets that are seeing the most meaningful pricing corrections.

“With all of the progress that’s been achieved, we’re confident that we will see profitable growth and continued improvement in our underwriting and profitability – and we are focused on delivering value to our shareholders."

Axis said book value per diluted common share at year end was $55.09, an increase of 34 cents compared to September 30, 2020.

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Published January 28, 2021 at 8:41 am (Updated January 28, 2021 at 8:41 am)

Axis reports $151m full-year loss

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