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Aspen cites catastrophes in nine-month loss


HAMILTON, Bermuda—Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. suffered a $119.3 million loss for the first nine months of the year compared with a $220 million profit during the same period last year, the Hamilton, Bermuda-based insurer and reinsurer announced Thursday.

Gross written premiums grew 5.1% to $1.75 billion during the first three quarters of the year. But heavy catastrophe losses drove Aspen's combined ratio to 116.1%, up from 97.2% during the same period of 2010.

For the third quarter, Aspen's net income dropped 76.1% to $22.2 million, while gross written premiums rose 19.2% to $495.4 million. Its combined ratio for the period deteriorated slightly to 96.7% from 94.4% a year earlier.

“This was a quarter dominated by macroeconomic issues ranging from the U.S. debt ceiling negotiations in Washington to concerns over European sovereign debt, the eurozone and the future of the euro,” Aspen CEO Chris O’Kane said in a statement.

“In addition, 2011 has continued to be a year of exceptional frequency of catastrophe losses, which we now estimate at $95 billion of worldwide industry insured losses to date,” he said.