Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. ( AHL) Q4 2011 Earnings Conference Call February 07, 2012, 09:00 a.m. ET Executi ve s Kerry Calaiaro - SVP, IR Chris O’Kane - CEO Richard Houghton - CFO Analyst s Mike Zaremski - Credit Suisse Amit Kumar - Macquarie Sarah DeWitt - Barclays Capital Vinay Misquith - Evercore Partners Josh Shanker - Deutsche Bank Dan Farrell - Sterne Agee Brian Meredith - UBS Geoff Dancey - Cutler Capital Presentation Operator
I’ll now turn the call over to Chris O’Kane.Chris O’Kane Thanks Kerry. Good morning everyone. A significant combination of catastrophe events and depressed investment returns makes 2011 one of the tougher years the insurance industry have seen for some time. Many will look back November the year as one of the worst years of catastrophe related losses in history. Companies around the globe take series of natural disasters including an earthquake and tsunami in Japan, earthquakes in New Zealand, cyclone and flooding in Australia, a hurricane and the series of severe tornadoes in United States, and devastating floods in Thailand. Industry-wide losses in 2011 totaled $508 billion which is more than double the figure of $48 billion in 2010 and second only to the record of $123 billion in 2005 when the three U.S. hurricanes; Katrina, Rita and Wilma alone cost the insurance industry over $100 billion. So, these conditions impacted our financial results for the year. We continue to execute our strategy and adjusted our practice as required to protect our balance sheet, create shareholder value and position our business for future growth. Aspen has a track record prudent underwriting growth and extensive experience and our own perspective on exposures using both internal and external risk models. This creates clear review of the risk landscape which we carefully evaluate before making underwriting decisions. As we have discussed before, experience and sound judgment mattered just as much as our models. We also use market share data to evaluate the amount of risk we’re willing to take in any given full reserve. Now, for the global economy in the past 15 years or so, the drive to lower cost of industrial reduction has led to new clusters of significant value building up especially in Asia, and sometimes in locations heavily exposed to natural perils. We believe that many insurers have not realistically affect the level of exposure and the range of perils that could potentially impact these new industrial parks.
As a consequence, data standards can be poor and premiums charge inadequate and therefore we seek to minimize our exposures in those areas. An example of this is the recent loss experienced in Thailand. Regarding our Thailand loss, net of reinsurance, reinstating premiums and tax, our estimate is $54 million.Our exposure derives from seven Asian region treaties, eight Japanese (inaudible) with international exposure, three multinational insurers, and one Thai contract. You might like to refer to Slide 11 for a breakdown of our 2011 catastrophe losses on both gross and net basis. Now, let me review our performance. I’m pleased to report that despite the tough environment, we had a breakeven result for the fourth quarter and a very good performance indeed in our insurance business. We reported operating income of $6 million, or $0.01 per share for this quarter, and Richard will give you more detail of those in few minutes. For the full-year 2011, we reported an operating loss of $1.26 per share, diluted book value per share was $38.43 per share, down 1.2% from year-end 2010. Our insurance segment had a very strong year, with underwriting profit of $33 million. This reflected not only significant growth in certain niche areas but also an improvement across a number of lines. Our casualty and specialty reinsurance lines also had good performances, although the reinsurance segment was materially impacted by the high frequency and severity of natural cats in 2011. Now, let’s take a look at our underwriting performance beginning with insurance. In the insurance segment, we reported, as already mentioned, an underwriting profit (inaudible) for full-year and the combined ratio of 95.8% compared to 103.1% for 2010. Gross written premiums rose 12% from last year, reflecting among other things strong demand for our kidnap and ransom offering and the successful progress of our U.S. professional lines of business. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com