Our profit before tax of $14.4m (2021: $40.6m), reflects the successful build out of our small business proposition across our key territories. Demand for our digital underwriting and distribution capabilities continues to grow and our delivery of $204.9m (2021: $190.8m) in gross premiums written for our first year of full operation and combined ratio of 87% (2021:76%), demonstrate our success.
Working closely alongside our four divisions, Digital offers cross class specialist digital underwriting capabilities to the small business market. It gives brokers one Beazley point of contact, supported by a cross functional team, to access multiple product lines and digital services via their preferred platform or channel.
CEO - Beazley Digital
A successful year
It is testament to the outstanding work of our team, that in our first year of operating as a separate division we have delivered a strong performance. Throughout the year we have made considerable progress in technology innovation and are seeing the benefits of a multi-skilled team working across all lines of business.
Digital started underwriting as a separate division in January 2022. It was created to build on the success of our myBeazley portal and to respond to demand from clients and brokers for accessible Digital insurance placement for small to medium sized risks. Digital gives brokers one Beazley point of contact, supported by a cross functional team, to access multiple product lines and digital services via their preferred platform or channel. By committing to our strategy of meeting the client where they want to be met, we are seeing success across all access points: the myBeazley portal, APIs, on digital market hubs and our artificial intelligence enhanced email submission capabilities.
Take up of each channel differs depending on location. In the US, the prevalent method of placement remains via email, but through 2022 we have seen a shift to engagement via APIs and market hubs. In Europe and the UK, myBeazley has established itself as a key link in the insurance chain, while for our German business, market hubs or ‘broker pools’ are increasing in use.
Specialist insurance for small business
We recognise that not all small businesses are the same and neither are the risks they face. A small manufacturing business has very different exposures to business interruption risk than a small financial consultancy. By leveraging the deep-seated specialist knowledge that we are known for and that is prevalent across our organisation, we are able to effectively design and price relevant cover for a myriad of organisation types and sizes, which can be accessed at the touch of a button and delivered digitally.
At our core, we have a broad Specialist Lines portfolio, focused on lines such as Professional Indemnity, Management Liability, Tech Professions Errors and Omissions, Medical Malpractice for small scale health and care services providers, Event Cancellation and Pleasure Craft. During 2022, we have also matured the way we underwrite flagship products like Cyber for small business, where we are seeing significant demand and there is an opportunity to grow at pace.
Growth going forward
We remain confident about our growth trajectory going into 2023 and expect to see moderate rate increases across the portfolio. Service is key, and we continue to invest in the people and technology of our customer success team who support our brokers with client queries, providing product information, and transacting business. Similarly, our dedicated territory manager sales team continues to grow and expand our distribution by region and by digital channel. In the year ahead, we are targeting growth in all regions. We see plenty of opportunity to expand our digital distribution in the US, and Europe. In 2023, we will also launch the myBeazley portal in Canada, with the support of our well establish specialist teams in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
Although Digital is tailored for the small to medium business segment, looking ahead, we see opportunities to direct more digitally placed larger risk business to our complex risk underwriting teams via channels such as APIs.