Gard has reported a bottom-line profit of $59m for the first half of the year after a strong performance in its protection and indemnity business.

The Norwegian marine insurer’s gross premium was $559m, up from $407m in the the first half of 2022, mostly due to increases in P&I income.

Profits in its P&I business and its investment income were partly offset by losses from hull and machinery claims.

The P&I business had a combined ratio of 95%, resulting in a technical profit of $14m.

Its commercial marine and energy business had a combined ratio of 105% and a loss of $10m.

The profit improved Gard’s equity position from $1.26bn to $1.3bn.

Chief executive Rolf Thore Roppestad said: “Our investments have started to recover after an exceptional period last year, and our insurance results, which were remarkably strong in 2022, continue to be well within our expectations.”

Commenting on the increase in hull claims, he said: “Volatility will always be a part of our business and it is too early to say whether this represents an altered claims trend. Overall, we are very happy with our performance so far this year.”

Gard’s P&I performance is the strongest indication so far that insurers are starting to balance the books in the sector after three consecutive years of substantial general increases in rates.

Higher premium income together with a low claims environment and improved investment income are positioning the clubs for lower increases at next year’s February renewal.

P&I boards are assessing next year’s general increases, and announcements are expected shortly.