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Ansvar posts loss after year of catastrophes

Church and heritage insurer Ansvar posted an underwriting loss of $2.2 million last year after earnings were hit by a relatively high level of catastrophes.

The result compares with a profit of $200,000 in 2015, according to results posted by UK-based parent company Ecclesiastical.

Ansvar’s combined operating ratio deteriorated to 106.7% from 99.4%.

“The business was affected for a second consecutive year by a higher than average number of catastrophe events, which was an issue for the whole Australian market,” the company said.

“However, the reinsurance arrangements in place reduced the impact of these at the net level.”

Gross written premium (GWP) grew 0.3% to $76.4 million.

“Retention rates remained very strong, and new business was 21% ahead of the prior year,” the company said.

Ecclesiastical’s underwriting profit grew to £20.1 million ($32.3 million) from £13.5 million ($21.7 million) as benign weather in the UK and Ireland offset catastrophes in Canada and Australia.

GWP gained slightly to £310.1 million ($498.5 million), supported by currency moves.

CEO Mark Hews says the company won and retained a range of significant real estate, education, heritage and charity accounts across its territories last year.

Ecclesiastical is owned by registered charity Allchurches Trust, and says its ethical positioning gives it a competitive edge amid public mistrust in financial services companies.

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