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Hiscox to raise up to $500m in share sale

Hiscox is to raise as much as $500 million in an equity sale to take advantage of new opportunities in the post-Covid-19 insurance market.

At the same time, the Bermudian re/insurer has estimated potential business UK interruption insurance losses of between $12 million and $308 million.

The London Stock Exchange-listed company faces a potential court battle with a group of hundreds of UK clients disputing Hiscox's non-payment of their business interruption insurance claims related to the pandemic.

Hiscox has previously said it was paying out for travel and event cancellation claims connected to the crisis, with an expected total of up to $150 million. And the company added that if restrictions on travel and gatherings are extended beyond six months, those claims could increase by an additional $25 million.

In its first-quarter trading statement, Hiscox announced an equity placing for up to 19.99 per cent of its issued share capital “in order to position the group to respond to future growth opportunities and rate improvement in the US wholesale and reinsurance markets”.

Hiscox said about 10 per cent of its UK commercial customers buy property insurance that includes an element of business interruption.

“This represents approximately 33,000 customers,” Hiscox said. “We believe approximately 10,000 customers have been ordered to close as a result of the general national measures taken by the UK Government, and we believe three quarters of the remaining customers who purchase this cover are not premises-dependant.”

In the first quarter, Hiscox said its gross written premiums grew by 2 per cent in constant currency to $1.18 billion.

Hiscox added: “Pricing in reinsurance so far is below our expectations, despite an unprecedented succession of natural catastrophes; however, we are now beginning to see rate improvement accelerate. Rates are up 8 per cent year to date, including the impact of the Japanese renewals in April.”

Investors welcomed Hiscox's statement and its shares rose 9.6 per cent in London yesterday, giving Hiscox a market valuation of just under $2.2 billion.

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Published May 07, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated May 07, 2020 at 9:10 am)

Hiscox to raise up to $500m in share sale

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