The American Club insurance mutual reported greater losses for 2021 as it faced rising claims despite growth in premium income and investments.

The US-based protection and indemnity club reported a net loss of nearly $6.67m, deeper than the $4.98m in red ink in 2020.

The insurer’s comprehensive loss, which included unrealised losses on investments and adjustments for realised capital gains, amounted to $8.33m. That was down from a loss of $3.75m a year earlier.

The American Club’s 112% combined ratio, a figure that represents an underwriting loss when it goes above 100%, was unchanged from 2021.

But in a circular to members, chief executive Joe Hughes said the figure “highlights the need for the continuing pursuit of sustainability in premium pricing for the future”.

In its annual report, the American Club said that it suffered the worst year in a decade for claims on its own account.

“Inflationary trends affecting retained losses began to assert themselves in 2018, continued to develop in both severity and frequency in 2019, abated somewhat in 2020, but reasserted themselves strongly during 2021,” the insurer’s managers wrote in the report.

Some of the increase in claims costs were a result of Covid-19, with $6.3m related to the pandemic, while rising commodities prices boosted cargo claims.

And though the American Club had no claims that it passed on to the International Group of P&I Clubs’ pool last year, it was forced to contribute to the group’s significant rises in its claims.

“For 2021, the first six months of the year were the highest recorded for any previous year, suggesting little respite in the pool’s upward trajectory,” the American Club said.

The American Club’s investment portfolio generated a 7.1% return during the year.

Its net premiums and calls earned jumped to $143m in 2021, up from $90.6m a year earlier.

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Those gains are expected to continue, including the results of a 12.5% minimum premium increase announced earlier this year.

“In conjunction with a 13% growth in P&I tonnage over the previous 12 months, to over 20m gt, the club began the 2022 policy year with projected income about 20% higher than the previous year,” the insurer said.