Beazley reported profit before tax fell 43% to $168m in 2017 from $293.2m a year ago amid numerous natural catastrophes in the year that generated heavy claims for the insurance industry. The return on equity for the year to the end of December was 9% (2016: 18%) Gross premiums written increased by 7% to $2,343.8m and the combined ratio was 99% (2016: 89%) The company has declared a second interim dividend of 7.4p (2016: 7.0p), taking full year ordinary dividends for the year to 11.1p. Chief executive Andrew Horton said: 'Beazley achieved an underwriting profit in 2017, a year in which hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires generated heavy claims for the insurance industry.' 'More importantly, we delivered on our commitments to our policyholders, already paying out more than $110m in claims following the year's natural catastrophes. Premiums grew 7% in 2017 - a strong performance given market conditions. Looking ahead, we see potential for double digit growth in 2018.'
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