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Beazley Swings to Profit on Lack of Catastrophes

(Corrects analysts’ estimate in second paragraph.)

July 20 (Bloomberg) -- Beazley Plc, a Lloyd’s of London insurer, swung to a first-half profit on premium rate rises and an absence of costly natural disasters so far this year.

Pretax profit was $112.9 million in the six months to June 30 compared with a $24.2 million loss a year earlier, the Dublin-based company said today in a statement. That beat the $96 million average estimate of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

“Claims experience in the first half of 2012 has been relatively benign, with claims notifications lower than normal and loss development in line with our expectations,” Beazley said in the statement.

The lack of major natural disasters this year has helped insurers recover from 2011, when earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand, windstorms in the U.S. and flooding in Thailand cost the industry $105 billion, the most on record for single year. Those costs helped Beazley raise premium rates 3 percent, with policies covering catastrophes up 5 percent, the company said.

Beazley raised its first-half dividend 8 percent to 2.7 pence a share, compared with 2.5 pence a year earlier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kevin Crowley in London at kcrowley1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net;

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