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Lloyd’s insurer upbeat on 2021 after COVID-19 losses


(Reuters) – Next year could be one of Beazley PLC’s strongest for more than a decade, the Lloyd’s of London insurer’s chief executive said on Tuesday, with the industry likely having already absorbed the bulk of its losses from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We hope that the COVID-19 claims are generally behind us,” Andrew Horton said at the Reuters Events Future of Insurance Europe conference.

“We have written more (insurance) in 2020 than we originally thought and we think 2021 is looking better. It is probably going to be one of our best growth years since the early 2000s.”

Beazley, which manages six Lloyd's syndicates, in September doubled its claims estimate related to the coronavirus crisis to $340 million, with almost all the increase caused by a wave of event cancellations.

Mr. Horton did not see many more claims coming through on event cancellation.

“There may be some liability claims coming out of COVID-19 which will take a while to mature, that will happen over a number of years rather than instantly.”

Mr. Horton also said Beazley and others in the market were working with Lloyd’s on a common approach to the underwriting of fossil fuels.

Lloyd’s, which houses around 100 syndicate members, has faced criticism for insuring coal.

The market was “thinking through how we can be as definitive as possible” about what it was willing to insure, Mr. Horton said.

Beazley does not insure new coal mines, he added.