Lloyd's of London insurance market in return to profit

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Media captionLloyd's Chief executive Richard Ward: "2012 has been a quieter, more profitable year"

Lloyd's of London has returned to half-year profitability after there were no major natural disasters in the first six months of 2012.

The insurance market made a pre-tax profit of £1.53bn in the half year to 30 June.

This compares with a loss of £697m a year earlier, when it was hit by claims relating to the Japanese tsunami of March 2011.

Lloyd's said insurance claims were down by a third.

European 'challenge'

Chief executive Richard Ward said: "This is a welcome return to profit for the market, after a six-month period that could not be in greater contrast to the first half of 2011.

"The result has certainly been helped by the favourable claims climate."

Lloyd's said its net claims for the six months totalled £4.6bn, compared with £6.7bn a year earlier.

Its chairman John Nelson, added that the market had enjoyed "a strong six-month period".

He said Lloyd's had also benefited from having its credit rating upgraded from stable to positive by rating agency Standard & Poor's.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Ward added that, like any large business organisation, Lloyd's had been affected by the downturn in the European economy.

He said: "No one is immune to Europe and the problems in Europe. It presents a challenge for us, but it also provides an opportunity for us.

"We are in the business of risk, of helping people manage their risk. On the continent, in Greece and Spain, people still need to manage their assets and we are here to help them."

Lloyd's of London traces its roots back to 1688 and a London coffee house that established itself as the main place to insure ships.

Its results represent the performance of nearly 90 insurance syndicates that operate in the Lloyd's market.

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