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Aspen Insurance reports strong finish to 2004

Bermuda-based property and casualty reinsurance company Aspen Insurance Holdings has announced its 2004 results in an upbeat mood, stating that it was particularly happy with its fourth quarter performance which was almost $20 million up on the previous corresponding period.

Aspen Insurance recorded a net income of $72.2 million for the three months ended December 31, 2004, compared to $54.5 million in 2003. Net income of $195.1 million for the 12 months to December 31, 2004 was up from $152.1 million in the previous year.

CEO Chris O’Kane said, Our fourth quarter results demonstrate the fundamental strengths of Aspen’s business platform. Our diversification strategy and underwriting discipline have resulted in a strong finish to 2004, with which we are pleased. Our performance to date combined with sound balance sheet management have positioned us to take advantage of new business opportunities in 2005.

Gross written premiums were $216.2 million for the fourth quarter 2004 and $1,586.2 million for the full year to December 31, 2004. Net investment income was $22 million for the fourth quarter 2004 and $68.3 million for the full 12 months to December 31, 2004. Shareholders’ equity increased from $1,298.7 million at December 31, 2003 to $1,481.5 million at December 31, 2004.

In response to the financial achievements, Aspen’s board of directors will increase in the quarterly dividend to $0.15 per ordinary share from $0.03 per ordinary share. The dividend will be payable on March 25, 2005.