CGNU Reports Losses, Some Gains

November 9, 2000

CGNU, the U.K.’s largest general insurer, reported mixed results for its activities during the first nine months of the year. Overall it posted a net pretax loss of £630 million ($914 million), compared to a net pretax profit of £844 ($1.22 billion) through the first nine months of last year. The results, however reflect one-time-only charges and catastrophe losses, and some gains were recorded.

CGNU has taken losses on its exit from the Lloyd’s market, and expects to write off as much as $1 billion from the sale of its U.S. p/c business to White Mountains Group.

It has already experienced significant catastrophe losses this year , beginning with the end of the year storms which caused widespread damage in France and other European countries.

The losses continue as catastrophic floods are currently causing widespread damage in many parts of the U.K. The company announced that it expects to pay out around £200 million ($290 million) as a result, but that it was reasonably well protected by reinsurance above this amount.

However, as rain continues to fall, with another storm expected this weekend, the damage continues to mount. Twelve people have died so far as a result of the storms, and loss estimates have been raised to over £1 billion ($1.45 billion). Most analysts expect that when the claims are filed the current series of storms will be the worst since 1947, surpassing losses recorded in 1990 and 1987.

CGNU did record some significant growth during the period. Operating profits in its life and pensions unit posted gains of almost 25 percent to £1.15 billion ($1.45 billion) on strong sales of £9 billion ($15 billion).

CGNU is still in the process of restructuring its business following last May’s merger with Norwich Union, and as the U.K.’s largest general insurer, it is “well positioned for future growth,” Chairman Robert Scott recently told the BBC.

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