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Aspen insurance head resigns after cat loss announcement

Posted On: Jan. 26, 2018 10:21 AM CST

Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. on Friday said Stephen Postlewhite, CEO of Aspen Insurance, has left the Bermuda-based insurer and reinsurer. The announcement comes one day after Aspen warned it expects to post a fourth-quarter underwriting loss.

David Cohen, president and chief underwriting officer of Aspen Insurance, will take over the day-to-day management of the insurance business, Aspen said in a statement. Mr. Cohen will report to group CEO Chris O’Kane.

Aspen said late Thursday that it expects to record an underwriting loss of approximately $245 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, primarily due to catastrophe losses.

This includes approximately $135 million in pretax losses due to wildfires in California in the fourth quarter of 2017, Aspen said in a statement.

The estimated losses, which are net of reinsurance and reinstatement premiums, are predominantly attributed to its reinsurance segment, Aspen said.

The company added the figures also stem from an increased frequency of midsize and attritional losses primarily in Aspen’s insurance segment such as property- and fire-related losses in the U.K. and U.S. and, to a lesser extent, cyber losses and an increase in a previously reported surety loss.

Aspen added that it does not expect the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to have a significant effect on its net income in 2018 based on its initial assessment.

The expected fourth-quarter underwriting loss includes a release of reserves from prior years, but Aspen said reserves for losses and loss adjustment expenses remain strong.

The company added that due to the complexity of losses and judgement involved in early calculations, “Aspen’s actual losses from these natural catastrophes may differ materially from the preliminary estimates provided above.”

The company said it expects to provide updated loss estimates and full operating results for the fourth quarter of 2017 on Feb. 7.

“We have taken a number of actions to improve our underwriting performance and expect to see the impact of these reflected in our 2018 underwriting year results and beyond,” Mr. O’Kane said in the statement.