Bermuda’s Omega Insurance Holdings today [Nov. 18] reported gross written premiums in the first 9 months of 2011 totalled $258.5 million — down from $308.5 million in 2010.
In an interim management statement, Omega said while rates are improving in its two largest classes, property catastrophe and US small commercial property, the net loss estimates for 2011 catastrophes previously have increased by approximately $6 million
Estimated third quarter catastrophe losses of $10 million include claims stemming from Hurricane Irene, Texas wildfires and the Slave Lake fire. Omega does not expect material losses from recent floods in Thailand
Group participation on and reinsurance of Syndicate 958
Omega’s share of gross written premium from Syndicate 958 for the first nine months of the year reduced by 8.9% to $188.0 million [Q3 2010: $206.4 million] reflecting previously announced exits from marine energy and retrocessional classes of business. This has been somewhat offset by the increased Group share of Syndicate 958 from the 2010 year of account. Syndicate 958 capacity for the 2011 year of account is $420 million with expected utilisation of approximately 78% of capacity.
Gross written premium for the first nine months of the year reduced by 52.8% to $31.6 million [Q3 2010: $67.0 million] reflecting the previously announced changes in the underwriting strategy of the direct business written in Bermuda.
Omega US Insurance
Gross written premium increased by 10.8% to $38.9 million for the nine month period [Q3 2010: $35.1 million]. The rating environment in the US excess & surplus lines has begun to improve. The business is well positioned for growth now that we are licensed in all US states. We expect continued rate increases throughout 2012.
Consistent with the market, initial estimates of losses to Omega arising from previously disclosed catastrophe events have increased by approximately $6 million.
Third quarter US catastrophes including Hurricane Irene, the Texas wildfires and the Slave Lake fire are estimated to impact the Group by $10 million. In addition, 2011 has been impacted by an unusually high occurrence of smaller US and international catastrophes, resulting in an increase in attritional losses of approximately $9 million.
Given catastrophe activity in the year to date and a continued focus on reducing the level of volatility in the business, the Syndicate purchased additional reinsurance in the third quarter with a cost to the Group of approximately $3 million.
Omega’s investment return for the nine month period to 30 September 2011 was 0.93% [$6.3 million] reflecting a defensive investment strategy in these volatile market conditions. Omega has no direct exposure to sovereign debt issued by Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece or Spain.
Infrastructure and Solvency II
Omega’s focus on enhancement of its infrastructure continues through investment in people and systems. Taking this and the significant focus and investment in Solvency II into account, we expect total other underwriting and corporate expenses to be approximately 5% higher than 2010.
Update on Corporate Activity
Omega has been the subject of ongoing corporate activity for some time. The previously announced offer for up to 25% of the Group’s outstanding shares by Haverford Bermuda Limited has been put to shareholders and is now awaiting final regulatory approvals.
Costs related to all corporate activity are expected to total approximately $5 million for the year.
Although the market has been slow to react to significant recent losses and low investment yields, Omega is encouraged by upward pricing in property catastrophe and SME markets from which it believes the company will benefit.
Omega’s catastrophe exposures are now aligned to our revised risk appetite and we do not expect the level of legacy cat losses, which has materially affected results, to recur.
Omega is focusing on our portfolios and will look to add new selective classes when the time is right.
The Omega Group
Omega became the holding company of the Omega group of companies on November 9, 2006.
The Omega Group, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Omega Underwriting Agents Limited, acts as a Lloyd’s managing agent for Syndicate 958.
Syndicate 958′s capacity is $420 million for the 2011 year of account. The Syndicate has made an underwriting profit in every closed year of account since its inception in 1980. The Syndicate has focused predominantly on short-tail, diversified, property orientated insurance and reinsurance with a focus on small to medium sized insureds.
In February 2006 Omega Specialty Insurance Company Limited, was established as a new insurance and reinsurance Bermuda based business. Omega Specialty received its license from the Bermuda Monetary Authority as a Class 3 insurer and was subsequently reclassified as a Class 3B insurer. Omega Specialty’s premium income has been predominantly derived from its reinsurance of Syndicate 958 and the Omega Group’s Lloyd’s corporate member, Omega Dedicated, together with its book of third party reinsurances.
Omega US Insurance
In September 2006 Omega incorporated a new surplus lines insurer, Omega US Insurance, Inc., which is held under an incorporated intermediate holding company Omega US Holdings, Inc. Omega US Insurance is an insurance company licensed in the state of Delaware and underwrites on a surplus lines basis in other US States.