Lloyd's counts cost of insurers' worst ever year

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The Independent Online

The Lloyd's of London insurance market crashed to a first-half loss of £697m, hit by an unprecedented string of natural disasters led by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

The loss compares with a profit of £628m one year earlier, and reflects a total of £6.7bn in claims during the first half, making it the costliest six-month period in Lloyd's 323-year history.

The total included £2.7bn in catastrophe-related claims, more than 10 times Lloyd's average disaster loss for the first half of the year.

Lloyd's said it was financially strong enough to cope, with central assets – used when individual syndicates are unable to meet their obligations – rising 10 per cent to £2.47bn.