Aercap settlement is good news for insurers, Lloyd’s CEO says

By Carolyn Cohn and Jonathan Saul

LONDON (Reuters) -A landmark agreement around jets stranded in Russia is positive for insurers, Lloyd’s of London CEO John Neal said on Thursday as the commercial insurance market reported a first-half profit of 3.9 billion pounds ($4.9 billion).

Aercap, the world’s largest aircraft lessor, this week agreed to settle an insurance claim over Russia’s refusal to return 17 jets leased to airline Aeroflot, in a dispute over 400 Western planes stranded in the wake of the Ukraine invasion.

The deal, an apparent compromise in an economic war between Moscow and the West, looks set to lower a bill facing insurers, who are locked in court cases over who should pay for the loss of up to $10 billion.

Neal told Reuters that the Aercap settlement was “good news for us too, it means we can sit down and start to have the conversation about what is the claim”.

Beazley CEO Adrian Cox told Reuters on Thursday that the Lloyd’s insurer’s exposure to the stranded jets was small, but added:

“We have been hearing more noises about settlements being negotiated, it wouldn’t be surprising to us if we saw some settlements happen before the trials started.”

Lloyd’s, which recorded a loss of 1.8 billion pounds in the first half of 2022, saw a 22% rise in gross written premiums to 29.3 billion pounds due to expansion in existing syndicates, the introduction of new syndicates and a 9.1% increase in rates, it said in a statement.

Neal said 32% of leaders in the market were women, adding that syndicates which did not meet end-2023 diversity targets could face bans.

Lloyd’s has a target of 35% of leaders to be women by the end of the year, as it focuses on diversity after complaints in recent years about sexual harassment and daytime drinking in the commercial insurance market, which employs nearly 50,000 people.

“If you do not meet the expectations we have … around diversity, equity and inclusion, then you can’t trade in the market,” Neal said.

($1 = 0.7996 pounds)

(Editing by Sharon Singleton and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)