Beazley, the Lloyd’s of London insurer, is opening up a new frontier for underwriting by taking policies as far as the moon.
Alongside its half-year results, the FTSE 250 company said it saw space as an area where it can help create “global firsts”. It has already underwritten the first insurance product designed for a commercial landing on the moon, for a mission planned by a Japanese company, Dymon, which intends to make several lunar trips with a rover small enough to fit in the palm of a human hand.
“It’s good to show the insurance industry can help the world explore and do new things,” Beazley’s chief executive, Adrian Cox, told the Standard.
And such out-of-this-world insurance could develop into be a growth area for the industry.
“People are investigating whether you should build data centres on the moon, because it gets access to solar power in a near zero-G environment. That is just interesting stuff.”
It has also already insured Nasa rocket launches made outside the US, at a commercial site in Australia, for experiments specifically designed for the southern hemisphere.
The innovative approach came within Beazley’s Marine, Accident and Political team, which also bore the brunt of the company’s exposure to the conflict in Ukraine. Beazley left its assessment of the impact of the war unchanged at $50 million net of reinsurance after a review.
Overall, the sell-off on global financial markets after Russian invasion meant Beazley reported an investment loss of $193 million for the six months to June 30, having made a gain of $84 million in the same period a year ago. Profit before tax fell almost 90% to $22 million. A key industry performance figure -- the “combined ratio”, which measures costs as a proportion of premiums -- reached what Beazley called its best level since 2015.
Cox was also upbeat about London’s global status within the insurance industry. “The last few years have shown that actually, the London market is the premier specialty wholesale hub in the world. When things get difficult, business flows in here.”
Shares in the company rose 9.3% to 522p on Friday, taking it to the top of the FTSE 250 leaderboard.