Specialty Risks acheived gross premiums written of $1,940.1m (2021: $1,903.7m), with rate increases of 2%. The combined ratio improved to 93% (2021: 95%). Through 2022 we achieved synergies and gained insights as we brought together our Executive Risk and Specialty Lines teams.
Specialty Risks offers scale and diversification over 27 different product lines, including Directors and Officers (D&O), Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A), Environmental Liability and specialist insurance for the life sciences industries. The division was formed in 2022 combining the previous Executive Risk and Specialty Lines divisions.
Group Head of Specialty Risks
A successful year
Specialty Risks offers scale and diversification over 27 different product lines, across global geographies, serving insureds from SME’s to the world’s largest companies. Our distribution methods are equally diverse and include; broker partners along the insurance value chain, coverholders, delegated authority arrangements and reinsurance. This not only creates a truly diversified book of casualty business but actively offers diversification benefits to Beazley as whole.
The newly combined division leverages its expertise and interconnected broker relationships to deliver strong and effective cycle management across our diverse book, by pushing and pulling the relevant levers of geographies, platforms and products and moving our focus as market conditions evolve and change.
Active cycle management
Our focus on active cycle management lets us see where risks are growing, or the rating environment is becoming unattractive and move swiftly to protect that business area.
A good example of how this works is in the current D&O market cycle. We avoided growing in the depth of the soft D&O market by methodical underwriting, and when the market changed direction in 2020/21 we stepped up and seized the opportunity. As conditions have moderated since the second quarter of 2022, we’ve become more selective on rate and in some instances, reduced our appetite. We are hopeful that conditions will stabilise during this year and we will adjust our underwriting as opportunity emerges.
This year we’ve seen growth across areas where innovation plays a key role, such as our Safeguard Product and Beazley Product Solutions embedded reinsurance segment. Here we take a market leading position in these smaller or niche lines and invest significantly, giving them airtime to grow at pace. This approach sees us able to move swiftly into new or emerging areas where growth potential and client demand is high for Beazley's unique solutions. Another new area for 2022 was our geographic expansion of Product Recall to Singapore alongside our overall Specialty Risks growth in the Asia Pacific region.
Outperformance is our focus
Discipline is the watch word of our approach to underwriting; while growth makes the headlines, profit is the real mark of success. The current economic environment is challenging but the hard de-risking work we undertook during the last recession gives us confidence that we are well placed at the start of 2023.
Our underwriting capabilities are fully demonstrated by how we behave at these moments, and this includes leveraging our net growth and varying our reinsurance purchasing, to ensure we deliver market share and a positive result in any given year, regardless of market conditions. Our November equity raise will see us keep more of our carefully selected risk within our own business rather than purchase additional, more expensive, reinsurance thus maintaining our outperformance.
It takes discipline to leave our egos at the door, invest in future business areas and to pull back on some of our most respected classes of business if the rating environment is wrong.
However, this mantra is key to our strategy of growing in a smart, sustainable way.