Chartis arm doubles profits in spite of challenging year
THE Irish arm of insurance giant Chartis, formally known as AIG, almost doubled its insurance profits last year but still swung to an overall loss after hefty impairment charges.
The year of ups and downs is revealed in accounts just filed for Chartis Insurance Ireland, one of the country's biggest commercial insurers.
Chartis grew earned premiums by more than €15m to €182m in the year to November 2009.
The growth came against tough economic conditions that have seen the overall level of 'insurable risk' in the commercial sector fall as companies shrink or go out of business.
In their report, the directors noted the "considerable trading difficulties" experienced over the year, citing the floods and winter's big freeze as a particular challenge.
Despite those challenges, Chartis's technical or core insurance profits were also sharply up, jumping from €5.7m in the 2008 year to €10.9m in 2009.
"Given the market conditions during 2009, the directors are satisfied with the technical account profit for the year," Chartis said, adding that directors "believe very strongly" that insurance rates need to rise.
On an overall level, Chartis booked a loss of more than €10m for 2009 against profits of more than €2.8m a year earlier. Chartis's directors blamed a €26.8m impairment in the Irish firm's stake in Chartis UK Holdings for the loss.