Lloyd's of London, the world's largest insurance market, says major catastrophes made the first half of 2011 the most expensive on record.
It saw claims totalling £6.7bn from disasters such as the Japanese tsunami, floods in Australia and the earthquake in New Zealand. Lloyd's reported a loss of £697m for the six months to June, against a profit of £628m last year. However, Lloyd's said the market was "well-capitalised". 'Tough times'
This year already ranks as the second most destructive on record for catastrophe losses after 2005, with the insurance industry as a whole absorbing $70bn in claims, according to Swiss Re, the world's second biggest reinsurer（再保险人）
. Despite this, Lloyd's reported it was in good
shape financially, with record central assets of £2.47bn, up from £2.23bn last year. It reported a return on its investments of £548m. Lloyd's chief executive, Richard Ward, said: "These are tough times for the insurance industry, but we are well positioned to handle them." He warned the rest of the year ahead was likely to be "challenging", thanks to the uncertain economic environment and the crisis in the eurozone.