"Our vision of being a leading sustainable, specialty insurer, is both lived every day and drives our aspirations, as our products, people, platforms and culture all come together."
Beazley posted a pre-tax profit in 2022 of $191.0m (2021: $369.2m), and an impressive 89% (2021: 93%) combined ratio, a result that demonstrates the impact of our disciplined underwriting . I am also pleased to confirm that The Board has declared a dividend of 13.5p. Our business is grateful for the support of our shareholders, partners and customers during a challenging year of geopolitical uncertainty. I am particularly proud of the confidence our investors placed in us during our equity raise in November 2022, which will help us further invest in the sustainable growth of our business.
Our deepest sympathy is with all the people suffering from the devastation in Turkey and Syria, and those impacted by the human tragedy of the war in Ukraine. These events have made us acutely aware of this kind of geopolitical uncertainty. This uncertainty is compounded by the pervasive economic stress of high inflation and the cost of living challenges it creates for many. In this environment our role, as a sustainable, specialty insurer, is to support clients and broker partners to manage the additional risks as we all adapt and deliver value for our shareholders. Beazley adds tangible value when things are complex, volatile and changing in areas such as Cyber, Specialty, Marine and Political Risk, where we have consistently demonstrated our ability to help our clients grow, while allowing our insureds to explore, create and build.
We believe growth is driven by our ability to assess external realities and use our platforms, people and geographical strengths to lean into emerging opportunities as conditions change, rather than just be dictated by hard or soft market conditions. I like to think of this as anticipatory competence.
During 2022 the rating environment in property insurance and reinsurance reached a transition point, as the market understood that it was unsustainable to continue to underwrite this business in a commoditised way, in the face of overwhelming evidence about the impact of climate change. This is a moment where our market expertise and underwriting competence becomes a differentiating factor and where we are able to add real value to our brokers and clients. We are excited about the opportunity these changes offer to grow and develop our Property portfolio as we move through 2023.
This enthusiasm is based on the long-term approach we have taken to property, which saw our exposure, on both our Property and Reinsurance books within our Property Risks division, reduce as rates were depressed and the impact of climate change began to be felt. During this time, we invested in expertise and modelling tools to explore how the changing climate is impacting property risks. The knowledge gained is now allowing us to grow our share of the property market as the underwriting environment significantly improves.
Our successful equity raise in November 2022, puts us in an excellent position to take up the opportunity in Property and also deliver against our Cyber ambitions while extending our market share throughout our classes of business, delivering sustainable, diversified growth for shareholders across a balanced portfolio. Focusing on sustainable growth has resulted in our gross premiums written doubling between 2017 and 2021 - and saw our US platform reach a significant milestone as it passed gross premiums written of $2bn.
In autumn 2022, I assumed the role of Interim Chair of Beazley, I was previously the Senior Independent Director and Chair of the Remuneration Committee. The role of Chair has offered a fresh perspective on our business and I have been energised by the exciting future our fast changing and growing business has ahead of it.
On 25 April 2023, at the conclusion of the 2023 Annual General Meeting, I will relinquish this role to our outstanding new Chair, Clive Bannister and I will return to my previous role. Clive is currently the Chair of Rathbones Group plc and the Museum of London. He was previously CEO of the Phoenix Group plc. He will bring deep strategic, commercial and transformational experience to The Board.
In the selection process we drew on our corporate values and founding principles, which have propelled Beazley to be the business it is today. We are a value driven, growth minded and disciplined company which has created a respectful and inclusive workplace and I believe that in Clive, we have a leader who embodies these values and who will be an outstanding advocate for Beazley.
On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank David Roberts for his leadership as we faced the challenges of COVID-19, the transformation of our executive management team and for his genuine conviction that by creating a diverse environment that is respectful and open, you achieve better outcomes. He has left us a stronger business and we wish him well as he takes up the challenge as Chair of the Court of the Bank of England.
I would also like to thank Robert Stuchbery for assuming the role of the Senior Independent Director and Nicola Hodson for chairing the Remuneration Committee, while I undertook the Interim Chair role. Nicola will remain Chair of the Remuneration Committee following the 2023 AGM.
On behalf of the Board, I would also like to recognise Catherine Woods for her excellent service as a non-executive director, having stepped down following the conclusion of two three-year terms in May 2022. On 31 May 2022, the Board appointed two new Non-Executive Directors, Fiona Muldoon and Cecilia Reyes. Fiona is a member of the Audit & Risk committee and Cecilia the Audit & Risk committee and the Remuneration committee. They both bring insight and offer experienced-led advice to the Board.
Our company has thrived because our people can thrive. People are the bedrock on which we continue to build and grow our business. They are a vital asset and one that becomes more valuable over time. Understanding this leads us to commit to creating a market leading workplace.
Building a highly differentiated, talented, cross functional team means recruiting and retaining the best people. In 2022 we recruited 410 new joiners and our turnover rate was 10%.
We give our people the tools, support and create a learning environment where they are able to grow in their roles, make decisions and execute with autonomy. By staying a mostly flat organisation our team knows that they are making individual contributions to the collective success of the company. This approach results in positive behaviours and outcomes and a willingness to seize opportunities - which I believe is what makes Beazley not just a market leading workplace, but which is the key to our ongoing success as a business.
We are able to attract and keep top talent because of this compelling culture and the inviting workplace we have created, which resonates with both new and long-standing staff, as is reflected in our annual employee survey. Our engagement score, which measures whether colleagues are willing to go above and beyond for the organisation, was 85% and we remain above the global benchmark for both favourability and engagement. We continue to see parity in a majority of our demographic scores such as gender, ethnicity, age and length of service to the employee survey.
Only with a team of individuals that embraces the purpose of our business to explore, create and build will we deliver the innovation that our clients and broker partners expect. It is no surprise, therefore that during 2022 innovation remained at our core. We collaborated with the market to explore and create new insurance solutions to the emerging or changing risk landscape and in 2022 these included the build out of Carbon Offset Invalidation and specialist parametric property products, and building on our longstanding expertise in space underwriting by offering the first commercial insurance for vehicles on the moon. We are constantly looking to the risk horizon to identify where our specialist underwriting can add value.
The Board is pleased to continue with its progressive dividend policy, which will be paid annually and as such have declared an interim dividend of 13.5p for the full year of 2022.
In December 2022, Beazley joined the FTSE 100 for the first time. We welcome the additional responsibility, visibility and scrutiny that comes with this and expect to be better for it. It is worth reflecting that we have reached this point, not through acquisition or merger, but by focusing on growing and developing our business organically through our talent base, expertise and skill.
It has been a pleasure to lead such a committed and talented team of Directors as Chair of the Board for the past several months. Together we are steering your company as it continues to grow successfully and offer meaningful solutions to the challenges that risk presents to our clients and broker partners.
As a business we operate within a framework of underwriting, responsibility and financial probity that we can all be proud of, driven by an extremely skilled team. Our vision of being a leading sustainable, specialty insurer, is both lived every day and drives our aspirations, as our products, people, platforms and culture all come together. As Clive succeeds me as Chair, I can reflect that our new brand descriptor perfectly encompasses what it is about Beazley that makes us stand out from the crowd.