Fairfax is a in good position after strong performances across its (re)insurance firms including Allied World, Brit and Fairfax Asia.
Fairfax saw losses from Typhoon Hagibis were US$146 million and losses from Typhoon were US$76.1 million; meanwhile losses from Hurricane Dorian in the US were US$66.1 million.
Overall the group saw total (re)insurance gross written premiums climb to US$13.3 billion from US$12 billion a year before. The combined operating ratio improved from 97.3% to 96.9% over the year.
Fairfax Asia, which is overseen by chief executive Ramaswamy Athappan, saw its combined operating ratio (COR) improve to 97% in 2019 from 99.8% the previous year. Overall its gross written premiums climbed from US$191.9 million to US$231.2 million.
Allied World reduced its global premiums in the fourth quarter by around US$60 million but saw its COR improve dramatically from 105.3% to 93.6%. Across the year premiums were relatively flat at US$2.34 billion with the COR improving from 98.1% to 97.5%.
Prem Watsa (pictured), Fairfax’s chairman and chief executive, commented: “2019 was a record year for Fairfax with US$2 billion in net earnings, resulting in book value per share growth of 14.8%. Our insurance companies continued to have strong underwriting performance during 2019 with a consolidated combined ratio of 96.9%, with Zenith National at 85.2% and all of our other major companies between 96.2% and 97.6%, and our operating income was excellent at US$1.108 billion.”
He added: “We continue to be soundly financed, with over US$1 billion in cash and investments at the holding company and no significant holding company debt maturities until 2022.”

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