Beazley plc released an encouraging set of results for the first half of 2021. The group returned to profit; having declared losses in both the half year and full year in 2021, the profit before tax in the first half year was $167m. The combined ratio has improved to 94%, down from 107% at the same stage last year.

Headline details are as follows


6m to 30 June 2020

6m to 30 June 2021


Gross written premium




Net earned premium




Profit (/loss) before tax



Not meaningful

Loss ratio



14 points better

Expense ratio



1 point worse

Combined ratio



13 points better


No change to estimated covid-19 losses

Beazley made an initial estimate of the cost, after reinsurance recoveries, to the group of first party covid-19 claims to be $340m assuming that there was some sort of return to normality in the second half of 2021. It estimated a further net exposure of $50m should restrictions remain in place for the rest of this year. The experience on Covid-19 first party claims in the year to date means that Beazley is comfortable with these earlier estimates and particular, the additional $50m remains unimpaired.

Response to increasing ransomware losses

Beazley is a major leader in the cyber insurance sector. This sector has been subject to increased frequency and severity of loss as a consequence of ransomware. Alongside some very substantial rate increases, the group has also revised its underwriting, reducing limits where appropriate but also tackling proximate cause of loss with expanded risk management services to help client build increasing resilience. The attached slide pack goes into more detail on the company’s approach and the impact of underwriting actions so far. Argenta clients will be able to hear more about Beazley’s approach to underwriting cyber business at a webinar with Bob Wice, Head of Underwriting Management, Cyber & Tech, on 5th August.

Rates continue to increase

Elsewhere, rate movements are positive in all sections of the account; rate increases on renewal business averaged 20% in the first half year, up from 11% in the first half of 2020. The attached chart shows compound rate movements since 2016, with the average compound increase in rate since 2016 now running at 44% for the group as a whole.

Confidence in reserving strength

The group was also pleased to report reserve releases from all operating units, contributing an aggregate of $96m. Although the group has reported overall releases every year, there have been shortfalls in some units in both 2018 and 2019. The overall strength of reserving continues to be in the preferred range of more than 5% and less than 10% in excess of the internal actuarial estimates (Beazley is at pains to point out that the internal actuarial estimated reserve is itself at a margin in excess of best estimate).

The full press release can be found here

Beazley, through its Lloyd’s subsidiary Beazley Furlongs Limited, is managing agent to syndicates 623, 5623 and 6107, all of which are supported by clients of Argenta Private Capital Limited.