Beazley Group Reports Favorable Underwriting Conditions

In a statement released in conjunction with its Annual General Meeting, to be held today, June 20, the U.K.’s Beazley Group PLC, a leading LLoyd’s market insurer, indicated that “current trading underwriting conditions to 31 May 2005 have generally remained favourable and in line with our expectations.”

Beazley said the “combined syndicates’ (2623 and 623) gross written premium (net of brokerage) to 31 May 2005 was £322 million ($588 million), compared to £308 million ($562 million) for the previous year. The group’s share of this is £225 million ($410 million) in 2005 compared to £166 million ($303 million) in 2004.

“The average renewal rate reduction for the period was 2 percent, in line with our expectations. Rates across all classes have been maintained at profitable levels. The forecast profit for our managed syndicates has improved for 2003 to a range of 10.5 percent-15.5 percent of capacity from 10 percent-15 percent and remains unchanged for 2004 at 3-10 percent of capacity.”

Beazley USA, which comprises a managing general agent writing business on behalf of the Lloyd’s syndicates and an admitted insurance subsidiary, Beazley Insurance Company, Inc., acquired from Mutual of Omaha in October 2004 continues to make progress.

Beazley has made a serious investment in the U.S. and has backed it up by recruiting an experienced staff. Its U.S. subsidiary is already up and running. It began writing high value property coverage in December 2004 and launched its specialty lines business in March 2005. “The subsidiary aims to be a nationwide network over time and will be rated by A.M. Best shortly,” said the bulletin.

The Group also said it now “has 25 employees in six offices in the United States and is beginning to write new business.” However, it noted that “it has taken us slightly longer than originally envisaged to get to this point as we have focused our energies on recruiting the best staff, which cannot be rushed. This will have no effect on the group’s profits for the year.”

Beazley Chairman Jonathan Agnew commented: “We are pleased that trading conditions remain favourable across our business areas in 2005. Our underwriters remain focused on developing well-diversified portfolios and we continue to invest in opportunities that grow Beazley’s business in a defined and disciplined way.”

Beazley said it would announce interim 2005 results on September 7.