UPDATE 2-Insurer Catlin benefits from low London rate exposure
* Net premiums up 6.5 pct to $2.04 bln
* Average weighted premiums down 3.2 pct
* Pretax profit up 118 pct to $318 mln
* Shares up more than 5 pct (Adds COO, analyst quotes; share reaction; details)
By Richa Naidu
LONDON, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Bermuda-based Catlin Group said first-half profit more than doubled as the insurer's geographical spread shielded it from weak pricing that has dogged its British rivals during the period.
Catlin's London-listed shares shot up more than 5 percent on Friday, making it the biggest FTSE-250 percentage gainer.
Rates of insurance against potential disasters have been either stagnant or in decline mainly due to increased competition and fewer large catastrophe claims over the past year.
Catlin said its exposure to "more resilient" pricing in the United States, Europe and Asia had made it less vulnerable to sinking rates in London and Bermuda, where wholesale and catastrophe reinsurance lines dominate the market. Continued...