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Chief Underwriting Officer's report

“Our approach to underwriting remains consistent – our focus is on underlying pricing and risk dynamics, market knowledge and experience and standing by our clients.”

Bob Quane
Chief Underwriting Officer

Beazley achieved gross premiums written growth of 14% and a strong combined ratio of 89% (2021: 93%). We delivered this impressive underwriting result by executing against our underwriting strategy of deploying specialist products in markets that value expertise and are demand driven, combined with an agility to pivot in new directions as opportunities from changing market conditions emerge.

Balanced underwriting combined with agility

2022 was a year of global dislocation and complexity, but throughout we remained true to our core values, executing our ambitious strategy to deliver profitable growth across all lines. We achieved this by underwriting a balanced book of business across multiple platforms, with the agility to respond to changing market conditions. Innovation also remained at our core with the development of new insurance solutions such as CryptoGuard and Carbon Offset Invalidation. We also continue to evaluate and support various parametric Property products to provide the market with solutions beyond traditional insurance.

New structure – more specialism

In March 2022 we restructured our underwriting teams to improve interconnectivity and achieve synergies. We now have an underwriting structure of four more equally sized divisions, which ensures a balanced book of business and is better able to manage short and long tail drivers of risk and reward.

Small business underwriting

Alongside these four divisions, Beazley Digital offers cross class specialist digital underwriting capabilities to the SME market. Our SME brokers and clients can now access our expert underwriting team via multiple channels, ensuring ease of doing business. In its first full year of trading the new division has experienced significant increased demand.

Data driven specialists

To ensure we continue to add greater insight and build knowledge and expertise in exposure management and the use of data, we are actively investing further and adding specialists to our team. Beazley hired its first Chief Data Officer in 2022, appointed a Senior Financial Climate Risk Specialist, and we are focused on building our pricing and exposure management team. As we make a concurrent investment into modelling tools, we will continue to need highly skilled specialists who can turn data into useful tools and benchmarks for underwriting action.

Agility in action

New structures, platform strength and a high-quality team are the firm foundations from which we can respond and change as market conditions move. In the second half of 2022 we saw movement in Property markets and as rates began to harden, we were able to optimise our Property portfolio as both a seller and buyer of reinsurance. Our Property Risks division will take advantage of this excellent opportunity for growth as the market is rapidly hardening into 2023. However, it will do so in the certain knowledge that the ongoing work we are doing to manage climate risk will mean we are not just here for short term gain but to sustainably underwrite this core class of business.

Successful strategy

I joined Beazley just over a year ago because I was impressed by the quality of the underwriting team and the effective and considered way in which they execute our underwriting strategy. In 2022, it was testament to this approach that we have delivered a 89% combined ratio and seen growth of 14% despite perhaps the most challenging geopolitical situation in a generation.