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Arch Capital profit rises to $692.6M


HAMILTON, Bermuda—Arch Capital Group Ltd. increased profits to $692.6 million in 2006 from $256.5 million in 2005.

Hamilton, Bermuda-based Arch lifted profit in the fourth quarter to $239.3 million, compared with $100.9 million in the same period in 2005.

The company's combined ratio for 2006 fell to 85.4% from 95.8% the previous year.

"We are very pleased with the financial performance of the group," said John D. Vollaro, Arch's executive vp and chief financial officer, in a conference call. "Clearly the light (catastrophe) activity for the year was a positive factor, but noncat business also contributed significantly to these outstanding results."

As part of its earnings statement, Arch noted that its U.S. operations last month entered an agreement to write excess workers compensation and employers liability insurance produced by San Francisco-based managing general underwriter Wexford Underwriting Managers Inc.

Arch has also agreed to acquire Wexford—which wrote $74 million in business last year—and its renewal rights. The transaction is expected to close by Jan.1, 2008, Arch said.

Additionally, Arch noted in the earnings statement that it expects to book losses between $5 million and $15 million in the first quarter of 2007 stemming from European windstorm Kyrill last month.