Jan 17 (Reuters) - Lloyd’s of London insurer Beazley said it expected to report 2017 pre-tax profit ahead of current market expectations, despite the sector having faced hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfire bills of over $135 billion.
The insurer pointed to a reduction of about $5 million in the value of its U.S. deferred tax asset following the cut in the U.S. corporation tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.
Beazley said it expected its combined ratio, a measure of underwriting profitability, to be 99 percent for 2017. A level below 100 percent indicates a profit.
It also expects to report an investment return of 2.9 percent for the year on average invested assets of $4.8 billion.
Insurers will have to pay the highest ever claims in 2017, following a spate of hurricanes, earthquakes and fires in North America, according to a report published this month.
German reinsurer Munich Re, in its annual natural catastrophe review, also said last year’s total losses, including those not insured, were $330 billion, the second-worst in history after 2011 when an earthquake and tsunami wreaked havoc in Japan.
Beazley said in November it faced $200-300 million in insured losses, net of reinsurance, from natural catastrophes in the second half of 2017, which at the mid-point would have a $175 million negative impact on pre-tax profit. ($1 = 0.7263 pounds) (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Adrian Croft)