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Lancashire Holdings Limited, the owner of Cathedral Underwriting Limited (including syndicate 2010), has announced its 2018 calendar year results.

A summary of the key ratios is set out below:


2018 2017 change
Gross written premium $639m $592m 8%
Combined ratio 92% 125% 33 pts
Investment return 0.8% 2.5% (1.7 pts)
Reserve release $127m $65m 95%
Profit before tax $34m ($73m) $107m


Alex Maloney, Chief Executive Officer, said:

“The fourth quarter of 2018 once again witnessed higher levels of loss activity than average, with the occurrence of hurricane Michael in October and a further series of catastrophic wildfires in California causing a tragic loss of life. When considered with the other major loss events during the year, 2018 ranks amongst the four largest loss years of the last couple of decades. Following 2017, this is the second year in succession of well above average global insured catastrophe losses. Against this backdrop, the Group has generated a positive RoE for the full year of 2.4%. Overall, I am pleased at the resilience of our portfolio and our reinsurance programme, given the loss environment.

Looking ahead, I am encouraged with our new business momentum. For the full year our underlying premium growth was about 20%, which is early evidence of the benefits of our organic growth strategy and our particular focus on opportunities in certain new specialty lines which complement the Group’s traditional portfolio. Whilst the trading environment remains challenging, there are now some signs of an improved rating environment in many of our specialty lines, which account for over half our business. Encouragingly, the pricing trends remain positive across most of our business lines.

I am also pleased that, as the specific underlying losses have developed, the ultimate loss estimates which we established in 2017 in respect of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have reduced over the year.”


Click here for access to the full report.


Alpha comment: we are pleased to see that the Group has returned to its outperforming position for 2018, which stands as a very strong achievement given that 2018 was also a year of heavy catastrophe losses, if not quite at the record breaking levels of 2017.

Focusing on Cathedral alone, these results show premium across its two syndicates (2010 and 3010) grew by 24%, to $257m. This was achieved in the main through rates increasing by 7% across the syndicates’ renewal books and the addition of new underwriters in the energy and aviation teams of syndicate 3010. The results do not detail a breakdown of the 2018 loss ratio performance of Cathedral, however a three year account estimate will be available for syndicate 2010 as at 15 months.