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Novae sees strong growth in property insurance business


Novae Group P.L.C. said its gross written premiums for the first quarter of 2014 were £195.1 million ($328.8 million), a 6% increase over the comparable period last year as it reported strong growth in its property insurance business.

In its interim management statement Wednesday, London-based Novae, which operates at Lloyd's of London and underwrites property/casualty insurance and reinsurance, said that, on average, rates at renewals during the first quarter fell by 2.5%.

For property catastrophe reinsurance, rates fell by between 5% and 15%, Novae said, with the largest reductions seen on U.S. property treaty business.

Novae said gross written premium for its property division grew 18.1% to £89.6 million ($151.0 million), for the first quarter, and that during the first quarter, growth in its property division came largely from its U.K. and U.S. property insurance units where pricing remains attractive.

Novae said that rates increased slightly — by an average of 2% — for U.S. property insurance during the first quarter and by about 4% on U.K. general liability business.

The company said casualty gross written premiums fell by 12.7% compared with the first quarter of 2013 to £40.7 million ($68.6 million). Novae said it reduced its casualty writing in response to softening rates in some classes.

Gross written premiums for marine, aviation and political risk rose by 4.3% to £64.8 million ($109.2 million), the company said.

Novae reported investment income of £4.5 million ($7.6 million) for the first quarter of 2014, down slightly from £4.7 million ($7.9 million) for the comparable period in 2013.

Rates for most other lines of business were flat or slightly down, it said.

Novae said it had “exposures related to the losses associated with Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and the Sewol Korean Ferry tragedies.”

The expected losses from those events are “within normal risk appetite,” it said.