In­surer will suf­fer £31 mil­lion hit over dev­as­tat­ing US wild­fires

Western Daily Press - - Business -

IN­SUR­ANCE firm Bea­z­ley has warned that it will take a $40 mil­lion (£31.4 mil­lion) hit from claims linked to wild­fires in Cal­i­for­nia.

More than 50,000 peo­ple in the West Coast state were forced to flee wind-driven flames last month that burned 240 square miles.

The blaze killed dozens of peo­ple and de­stroyed thou­sands of homes in north­ern Cal­i­for­nia and was only con­tained after burn­ing for more than two weeks.

In a short stock mar­ket up­date, Bea­z­ley said: “The board’s early es­ti­mate of the cost of claims aris­ing from the 2018 Cal­i­for­nia wild­fires is $40 mil­lion, net of rein­sur­ance.

“In­vest­ment mar­kets con­tinue to be volatile and our year-to-date in­vest­ment re­turn to Novem­ber 30, 2018 is 0.5 per cent ($27 mil­lion).”

Ear­lier this year, Bea­z­ley said it has paid out $238 mil­lion (£183 mil­lion) fol­low­ing a string of At­lantic hur­ri­canes and earthquakes in Mex­ico.

It came along­side a sharp fall in prof­its for the first half, which sent shares tum­bling.

Pre-tax prof­its dropped from $158.7 mil­lion (£122 mil­lion) to $57.5 mil­lion (£44 mil­lion) in the six months to June 30.

That was de­spite a 15 per cent rise in premium in­come to $1.3 bil­lion (£1 bil­lion).

Flames con­sume a build­ing in Par­adise, Cal­i­for­nia last month

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