Hiscox profits triple to $137m
Hiscox’s pre-tax profits tripled to $137.4 million last year, as gross premiums written rose 15 per cent across the group.
The Bermudian-based company’s reinsurance and ILS segment had a second year of dealing with significant claims and posted a net loss.
Hiscox, whose headquarters are in offices in Wessex House on Reid Street is one of the major underwriters in the Lloyd’s of London market. Its London operation was the best performing part of the group last year.
The group’s retail business wrote more than $2 billion of premium and served one million customers for the first time.
The company announced a final dividend of 28.6 cents per share, an increase of 5.2 per cent.
Bronek Masojada, Hiscox’s chief executive officer, said: “We have generated strong growth and good profits in a busy year for claims. The tough action we took in our London Market business is paying off, and we are seeing some positive momentum in big-ticket lines, where rates, terms and conditions are improving.
“We are growing well in our chosen retail segments, and our small market shares mean the size of the opportunity in retail remains immense. We will continue to invest in our people, infrastructure and brand and maintain our focus on disciplined growth.”
The reinsurance and ILS business, based in Bermuda and London, posted a loss of $23.2 million and recorded a combined ratio of 116.9 per cent, indicating an underwriting loss. Hiscox reserved $165 million for claims from hurricanes Michael and Florence in the US and typhoons Jebi and Trami in Japan, as well as wildfires in California.
Hiscox said it managed to achieve rate increases of 5 per cent for the year and during the January 1, 2019 renewal period, it saw overall rate improvements of about 2 per cent.
Kiskadee Investment Managers, the group’s alternative capital unit, now has assets under management now at $1.5 billion. Its new Kiskadee Latitude Fund will give investors exposure to insurance lines for the first time.
In the earnings report, Robert Childs, chairman of Hiscox, gave some insight into the company’s culture as an employer.
“I am regularly told by those that know us that Hiscox has a distinctive culture underpinned by strong values,” Mr Childs wrote. “Being the highest ranking financial-services firm in Glassdoor’s 2019 best places to work in the UK, and receiving very positive customer feedback, validates that our values are being lived.
“We do not take this for granted, and around every five years, as new people join and the business evolves, we undertake an exercise to refresh them. I am pleased that we are embarking upon another such exercise, led by our chief executive, Bronek [Masojada].”