Insurer Catlin says profits up on lower disaster claims

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February 8, 2013 7:28 PM EST

Catlin , operator of the biggest insurance syndicate at Lloyd's of London [LOL.UL}, on Friday said its annual profit rose almost fivefold thanks to lower natural catastrophe claims.

Bermuda-based Catlin made a pre-tax profit of $339 million (215.5 million pounds) last year, up from $71 million in 2011, when insurers worldwide were hit by near-record claims due to a spate of natural disasters including Japan's Tohoku earthquake.

However, Catlin said it now expects a financial hit of $225 million from Superstorm Sandy, up from its initial estimate of $200 million.

It also said the shipwreck of the Costa Concordia cruise liner in January 2012 had cost it $51 million, compared with an earlier estimate of $35 million.

Catlin is paying a 2012 dividend of 29.5 pence per share, an increase of 5.4 percent.

(Reporting by Myles Neligan; editing by Tom Bill)

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