General insurer Lloyd's has recorded a successful year for 2006, posting profits of almost GBP3.7 billion before tax.

<p>The insurance specialist saw strong underlying conditions and an exceptionally low level of catastrophes for the year. Its combined ration also compared well with its international peer group and holds a strengthened balance sheet. <br /><br />The group saw a combined ratio of 83.1% which compares favorably with an estimated average of 93% for US property and casualty insurers – 95% for US re-insurers, 94% for European insurers and re-insurers and, 86% for Bermudian insurers and re-insurers. It also saw a 14.8% increase in central assets to GBP1,454 million. <br /><br />Commenting on the results, chairman of Lloyd&#0039;s, Lord Levene, said: 2006 was an excellent year for Lloyd&#0039;s and the market has performed well. During the year, we benefited from strong underlying conditions and an exceptionally low level of catastrophes. However, it would be unrealistic to expect such a favorable claims experience this year. With a trend for more frequent and severe natural catastrophes, we must continue our focus on underwriting for profit. The market is well prepared to meet these challenges.</p>