The market incurred total net claims of £4.6 billion in the six months to 30 June, a fall of almost a third compared with the same period last year, when events such as flooding in Australia and Thailand and earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand pushed it into the red.
Lloyd’s is made up of 88 underwriting syndicates, managed by firms such as Amlin, Catlin and Hiscox. It posted a profit of £1.5bn for the first half, in sharp contrast to the loss of £697 million it suffered a year ago.
Chief executive Richard Ward said: “This is a welcome return to profit, after a six-month period that could not be in greater contrast to the first half of 2011.
“It is testament to the market’s disciplined underwriting that, in the face of continuing low premium rates, coupled with low interest rates and the most challenging economic climate for a generation, it is able to return the strongest half-year result in five years.”
Lloyd’s, which traces its roots back 324 years to a London coffee house where merchants met to insure ships, covers businesses worldwide against large-scale risks.
Catastrophes during the first half of the year included the capsizing of the Costa Concordia cruise liner, in which 32 people were killed, and drought-related crop losses in the US, but claims for these incidents fell below those generated by last year’s earthquakes and floods.
Chairman John Nelson said: “The Lloyd’s market is well positioned to take advantage of opportunities both home and abroad.”