Typhoon Haiyan and huge natural disasters are bad for the people caught up in them and their insurers (Reuters)

Insurance giant Amlin is expecting better than forecast profits due to low catastrophe costs.

According to its interim management statement for the nine month period up to the 30 September 2013, the third quarter saw "excellent overall underwriting returns" due to "limited catastrophe activity".

As a result, full-year results are expected to exceed a targeted return on equity of 15%, said the firm.

"Amlin has had a good third quarter and we expect to deliver an above target return on equity in 2013. Our core businesses are performing well in demanding market conditions," said Charles Philipps, chief executive of Amlin.

The statement from Amlin also said that increasing profitability in Amlin Europe, Amlin Re Europe and Amlin UK was expected to help offset lower catastrophe reinsurance margins in 2014.

There were no major catastrophe losses in the third quarter and the largest event in the year to date remained the European flood losses in May and June which were estimated at £25.7m, the statement added.

Smaller catastrophe losses included European hailstorm and Mexican flood losses, which were £13.9m in the third quarter, and amounted to £37.0m for the nine month period.

For the 2013 underwriting year, gross written premium was up 4.8% at £2,276.6m for the nine month period to 30 September 2013.
Meanwhile in the 2012 underwriting year to 30 September 2012, the figure was £2,171.4m.

Philipps said that Amlin is well placed to consolidate its strong performance.

"Amlin is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities created by changes in the reinsurance market and the improving returns on our investments in Amlin Europe, Amlin Re Europe and Leadenhall Capital will increase the benefit of the diversity they bring to the Group."

Typhoon Haiyan

However, insurers with a big presence in the Philippines and the Asia Pacific might be worrying about the damage Typhoon Haiyan inflicted upon the country and region.

It will inflict up to $19bn worth of economic losses on the Philippines as the country struggles to deal with the devastation the natural disaster has left in its wake.

According to Kinetic Analysis Corp, the typhoon will swallow up a total of 5% of GDP output, worth between $12bn (£7.5bn, €8.9bn) to $15bn, while German-based CEDIM Forensic Disaster Analysis places total economic losses will reach between $8bn and $19bn.

Natural disasters are a common occurrence in the Far East and analysts at the Asian Development Bank said losses from typhoons and earthquakes cost the Philippines around $1.6bn each year.

Meanwhile the World Bank says the annual typhoon season cuts the Philippines' GDP growth by an average of 0.8 percentage points each year.

The United Nations has estimated that more than 544,600 people have been displaced by the storm and nearly 12% of the population directly affected as Typhoon Haiyan swept across the country.

Before the country entered a "state of national calamity" its economy grew at an annual rate of 7.6% in the first half of 2013.