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Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd  (AHL)
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    Sector  Financial    Industry Property & Casualty Insurance


Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd

Business Description

We are a Bermudian holding company, incorporated on May 23, 2002, and conduct insurance and reinsurance business through our principal Operating Subsidiaries: Aspen U.K. and AUL, corporate member of Syndicate 4711 at Lloyd’s of London (United Kingdom), Aspen Bermuda (Bermuda) and Aspen Specialty and AAIC (United States). Aspen U.K. also has branches in Cologne (Germany), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Dublin (Ireland), Paris (France), Zurich (Switzerland), Singapore, Australia and Canada. Reinsurance business is also written through Aspen Capital Markets via Silverton and Peregrine. We operate in the global markets for property and casualty insurance and reinsurance.

Our insurance segment is comprised of: property and casualty insurance; marine, aviation and energy insurance; and financial and professional lines insurance. The insurance segment is led by Mario Vitale, Chief Executive Officer of Aspen Insurance, David Cohen, President and Chief Underwriting Officer of Aspen Insurance (from November 2015), Ann Haugh, Chief Operating Officer of Aspen Insurance and President of Aspen International Insurance (from August 2015), and Robert Rheel, President of Aspen U.S. Insurance (from August 2015). Rupert Villers served as President of International Insurance until July 2015 and as Chairman of Aspen Insurance until he stepped down in October 2015.

Aspen Re is comprised of: property catastrophe reinsurance (including the business written through Aspen Capital Markets); other property reinsurance; casualty reinsurance; and specialty reinsurance. Aspen Re is led by Stephen Postlewhite, Chief Executive Officer of Aspen Re, Brian Boornazian, Chairman of Aspen Re, and Emil Issavi, President and Chief Underwriting Officer of Aspen Re.

In 2015, Aspen Re continued its participation in the alternative reinsurance market through Aspen Capital Markets. Aspen Capital Markets continues its focus on developing alternative reinsurance structures to leverage Aspen Re’s existing underwriting franchise, increase its operational flexibility in the capital markets, and provide investors direct access to its underwriting expertise.

In our insurance segment, property and casualty business is written primarily in the London Market by Aspen U.K. and in the U.S. by AAIC and Aspen Specialty (both on an admitted and excess and surplus lines basis). Our marine, aviation and energy insurance and financial and professional lines insurance are written mainly by Aspen U.K. and AUL, (which is the sole corporate member of Syndicate 4711 at Lloyd’s of London (“Lloyd’s”), managed by AMAL) with most of the same lines also written in the U.S. by ASIC and AAIC. We also write a small amount of casualty and financial and professional lines business through Aspen Bermuda.
In Aspen Re, property reinsurance business is assumed by Aspen Bermuda and Aspen U.K. and written by teams located in Bermuda, London, Paris, Singapore, Cologne, the U.S. and Zurich. The property reinsurance business written in the U.S. is written exclusively by Aspen Re America and ARA - CA as reinsurance intermediaries with offices in Connecticut, Illinois, Florida, New York, Georgia and California.

Casualty reinsurance is mainly assumed by Aspen U.K. and written by teams located in London, Zurich, Singapore and the U.S. A small number of casualty reinsurance contracts are written by Aspen Bermuda. The business written in the U.S. is produced by Aspen Re America.

Specialty reinsurance is assumed by Aspen Bermuda and Aspen U.K. and written by teams located in London, Zurich, the U.S., Dublin and Singapore. A small number of specialty reinsurance contracts are written by Aspen Bermuda. The business written in the U.S. is produced by Aspen Re America.

We are a diversified, well-capitalized, and strongly rated company providing carefully tailored underwriting solutions in select markets. We aim to identify and respond swiftly to emerging opportunities and to operate across a wide range of geographies and specialist business lines. This approach, underpinned by effective risk management, has enabled us to broaden our earnings stream and reduce exposure to any particular risk or event. We are both an insurer and reinsurer of specialty and similar lines and trade under two distinct brands — Aspen Re and Aspen Insurance.
Our main aim is to give our shareholders a strong return on their investment while ensuring that we have sufficient capital and liquidity to meet our obligations. Where we see profitable opportunities to deploy our underwriting and other capabilities, we expect to grow our business to realize them. Growth may be organic within existing lines, by recruitment of underwriters with complementary skills and experience, or by acquisition. Our key evaluation criteria for any acquisition proposal will include strategic fit, financial attractiveness, manageable execution risks and consistency with our risk appetite.

We continued progress against our objectives in 2015 through our focus on three strategic levers - business portfolio optimization, capital efficiency and enhancing investment returns.

Business Portfolio Optimization. We made strong progress on our business optimization initiatives in 2015. Our U.S. insurance teams continued to gain scale, with premiums from the U.S. teams growing by more than 14% over the prior year. Our Aspen Capital Markets team effectively leveraged Aspen Re’s underwriting expertise to grow our use of third party capital structures. We continued to further optimize our risk return profile in 2015 following the restructure of our ceded reinsurance and retrocessional arrangements in 2014.

Capital Management. We continue to focus on capital management, and maintain our capital at an appropriate level as determined by our internal risk appetite and the financial strength required by our customers, regulators and rating agencies. We monitor and review our group and operating entities’ capital and liquidity positions on an ongoing basis, and allocate our capital in the most efficient way which may include investing in new business opportunities, rebalancing our investment portfolio within acceptable risk parameters and returning capital to shareholders, subject to market conditions. In 2015, we repurchased $83.7 million of our ordinary shares. On February 5, 2015, we announced a new share repurchase program of $500 million.

Investment Management. Our investment strategy is focused on delivering stable investment income and total return through all market cycles while maintaining appropriate portfolio liquidity and credit quality to meet the requirements of our customers, rating agencies and regulators. This includes thoughtfully and tactically adjusting the portfolio duration and asset allocation based on our views of interest rates, credit spreads and markets for different assets as well as taking appropriate decisions to enhance investment returns where possible.

Key strategies for Aspen Re. We offer reinsurance for property, casualty and specialty risks as further described below. From time to time, the underwriting cycle allows us to deploy additional capacity on a more opportunistic basis and a key part of our strategy is to maintain the ability to identify such situations and take advantage of them when they arise. As result of our Aspen Capital Markets division, we are also able to develop alternative reinsurance structures to leverage our existing underwriting franchise, increase our operational flexibility in the capital markets and provide investors with direct access to our underwriting expertise.

Following the successful launch of Silverton, our first sidecar, in 2013, Aspen Re renewed Silverton in both December 2014 and 2015 to continue to provide additional collateralized capacity to support Aspen Re’s global reinsurance business. Silverton, a Bermuda domiciled special purpose insurer, is able to provide investors with access to diversified natural catastrophe risk backed by the distribution, underwriting, analysis and research expertise of Aspen Re. Through Aspen Capital Markets, we have also increased our capacity through other collateralized reinsurance arrangements.

Aspen Re’s largest market is the United States where we are well established and have solid market penetration. The markets in Latin America, Middle East and Africa, and Asia-Pacific have been historically less significant for Aspen Re, but we believe they offer significant growth potential, especially in the medium and longer-term, albeit from a smaller base. In 2015, the premiums from these emerging markets in reinsurance increased by 4%.
We aim to maintain sufficient capital strength and access to capital markets to ensure that major losses can be absorbed and to meet additional demand from existing or new clients.

Risk Management. We have a comprehensive risk management framework that defines the corporate risk appetite, risk strategy and the policies required to monitor, manage and mitigate the risk inherent in our business. In so doing, we aim to comply with emerging regulations, corporate governance and industry best practice and monitor and take remedial action against six main risk objectives: (1) extreme losses falling within planned limits; (2) volatility of results falling within planned limits; (3) compliance with regulatory requirements; (4) preserving rating agency credit ratings; (5) maintaining solvency and liquidity; and (6) avoiding reputational risk.

We are organized into two business segments: reinsurance and insurance. In addition to the way we manage our business, we considered similarities in economic characteristics, products, customers, distribution, the regulatory environment of our operating segments and quantitative thresholds to determine our reportable segments. Segment profit or loss for each of the Company’s operating segments is measured by underwriting profit or loss. Underwriting profit is the excess of net earned premiums over the sum of losses and loss expenses, amortization of deferred policy acquisition costs and general and administrative expenses. Underwriting profit or loss provides a basis for management to evaluate the segment’s underwriting performance.


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