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Catastrophes pound 2011 financial results at Everest Re, Alterra


HAMILTON, Bermuda—Two Bermuda-based firms reported significantly worse results for 2011 as catastrophe losses continue to hit insurer and reinsurer financial reports.

Hamilton, Bermuda-based Everest Re Group Ltd. reported a net loss of $80.5 million compared with a $610.8 million profit in 2010, the company said Wednesday, in a statement.

Everest Re reported a combined ratio of 90.9% last year compared with 74.9% in 2010. Compared with 2010, gross written premiums increased 2% totaling $4.3 billion for 2011, according to the statement.

For the fourth quarter, Everest Re reported profits of $41 million, compared with $302.5 million in the same period last year. Gross written premiums increased 10% from the year-earlier period to $1.1 billion for the quarter. Its combined ratio was 101.4% for the quarter, compared with 70.6% during the same period earlier.

"While catastrophe losses have had a significant impact on our results this year, our balance sheet remains strong with capital still in excess of $6 billion,” said Everest Re Chairman and CEO, Joseph V. Taranto, in the statement.

Specialty insurer and reinsurer Alterra Capital Holdings Ltd. reported 2011 profits of $65.3 million, down from $302.3 million in 2010, the Hamilton, Bermuda-based group said Wednesday, in a statement.

Alterra reported a combined ratio for property/casualty business of 98.2% last year, compared with 85.7% in 2010. Gross written premiums grew 35.2% in 2011 to $1.9 billion, which reflects Alterra's May 2010 merger with Harbor Point Ltd.

For the 2011 fourth quarter, Alterra reported $30.9 million in profits, compared with $79.7 million in the same period last year. Gross written premiums for the quarter reached $324.8 million, an increase of 3.6% from the year-earlier period. Its fourth quarter combined ratio for property/casualty business was 97.4%, compared with 84.8% during the same period earlier.

“Considering the record level of industry property catastrophe losses in 2011, we believe our results highlight the benefits of our diversified underwriting strategy, measured cat risk appetite and sophisticated risk management discipline,” said W. Marston Becker, president and CEO of Alterra, in the statement.

Other Bermuda underwriters including Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd., PartnerRe Ltd. and AXIS Capital Holdings Ltd. also reported catastrophe-related declines in their results this week.

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