China business to double: Lloyd’s Chairman

Conditions for insurance sector ‘interesting’: Lloyd’s Chairman

Despite a very competitive insurance market across Asia, Lloyd's of London's Chairman told CNBC the firm is set to double its business in China this year.

Speaking to CNBC's Squawk Box Europe on Thursday, Lloyd's Chairman John Nelson explained that regional expansion, including hubs in Shanghai and Beijing, was bearing fruit.

"The conditions are interesting because we've got, on the one hand, pressure on premium rate pricing which you can see. On the other hand in global terms there remains a growing demand for insurance, particularly in the growth economies which are underinsured," Nelson said.

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Low interest rates and economic volatility have hit investment returns, he explained, with Lloyd's reporting a pre-tax profit of £1.19 billion ($1.83 billion), down from £1.65 billion ($2.5 billion) a year earlier.

But it's those "growth economies" that are presenting opportunities for the business.

"It's a competitive environment, very competitive, but if you look at Lloyd's performance in Asia it now comprises about 12 percent of our business," Nelson said.

"Admittedly we're coming from a sort of small base, but our business in China this year will more than double. And we are seeing high growth rates," Nelson said.

The company's biggest Asian operations are currently in Singapore, a business which Nelson said was growing "extremely well."