Brit Posts 1st Half Gains; Best Comments

September 8, 2004

The U.K.’s Brit Insurance Holdings PLC (BIH), announced a very solid first half of 2004. Operating profits were up 6 percent to £41 million ($72.7 million), compared to £38 million ($67.5 million) for the same period of 2003. The insurer’s combined ratio for the period was 86.9 percent.

Brit, which operates both in the Lloyd’s market and separately, sold its mortgage lending unit and closed its life insurance fund to new business last year to raise additional capital, and seems to have made good use of it. The Group’s interim profit before tax was £52.5 million ($93 million), compared to £31 million ($55 million) for the first half of 2003. Underwriting profits increased by 92.2 percent to £80.8 million ($143 million), compared to £42 million (74.5 million) as of June 30, 2003.

Commenting on the result, A.M. Best Co. said that all of Brit’s issuer credit rating (ICR) of “bbb” and all debt ratings “remain unaffected following today’s publication of the company’s consolidated results for the six months ending 30 June 2004.

The financial strength rating of “A “(Excellent) and the ICR of “a” of Brit Insurance Limited (BIL), the Group’s insurance company subsidiary, also remain unaffected.

“The results for the first six months of the year fell within A.M. Best’s expectations,” said Best, citing its press release of 16 August 2004 on Brit. Best also indicated that it “continues to discuss the impact of catastrophes on BIH and BIL in the second half of the year, particularly the impact of the most recent major event, Hurricane Frances.”

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