Catlin slumps following a disaster-prone year

Catlin, operator of the biggest syndicate at Lloyd's of London, has seen profits slump by 80 per cent as it paid out catastrophe-related claims of nearly $1bn (£630m).

Profit for 2011 was $71m, the company reported yesterday, down from $406m in 2010. The decline reflected a jump in catastrophe losses as Catlin absorbed $961m in claims from earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand, hurricanes and tornadoes in the US, and floods in Thailand and Australia.

Its chief executive Stephen Catlin said the rise in claims had helped firm up prices as customers renewed their policies in January, with rates up 5 per cent overall, and catastrophe-related business up 9 per cent.

"Market conditions are improving," he said.