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Lloyd’s of London, the world’s oldest insurance market, reported its biggest annual profit in four years as natural catastrophe claims declined.

Pretax profit increased to 3.2 billion ($5.3 billion) in 2013 from 2.8 billion pounds the previous year, the London-based market said in a statement today. Lloyd’s paid out 86.8 pence in claims and operating expenses for every pound it took in in premiums, compared with 91.1 pence in 2012.

Earnings for Lloyd’s of London insurers have been boosted by a decline in costs linked to U.S. hurricanes. Claims against insurers and reinsurers from natural catastrophes dropped 52 percent last year to about $31 billion, according to Munich Re, the world’s biggest reinsurer.

“The hurricane season was benign and catastrophe claims were benign in 2013,” Inga Beale, who in January became the market’s first female chief executive officer, said in an interview. “This is the highest profit since 2009.”

Today’s results were also boosted by a release of 1.6 billion pounds of reserves previously set aside for claims. That compares to 1.4 billion pounds in 2012. Investment income declined 36 percent to 839 million pounds.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Jones in London at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Edward Evans at [email protected] Dylan Griffiths

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