Hiscox growth boosted by Hiscox Re in Q1

10-05-2016

Bermuda-based insurance firm Hiscox has posted a 10 percent increase in its gross written premiums (GWP) in local currency to £640.5 million ($924.8 million) for the first quarter of the year, compared with £561.7 million in the first quarter of 2015.

The firm said the increase was driven by a strong performance in all segments, as well as a long-standing strategy of balance and diversity.

Its reinsurance unit also enjoyed positive growth. Hiscox Re’s GWP increased by 16 percent to $279.2 million (2015: $240.2 million).

The company said Hiscox Re grew in specialty areas, particularly in cyber, terrorism, financial reinsurance and nuclear. Reductions in areas where rates are under ongoing pressure, such as US catastrophe, were partly offset by income written on behalf of Kiskadee, its insurance linked securities (ILS) business, including retro business. Hiscox Re continues to benefit from product innovation and a lack of catastrophes, it said.

Hiscox Re wrote $67.7 million (2015: $49.3 million) of GWP on behalf of Kiskadee Investment Managers during the first quarter of 2016. Kiskadee is on track to reach assets under management of $1 billion in 2016.

For Hiscox Re, there were single digit rate reductions over the 1/1 renewals. Pressure on rates, especially in property reinsurance lines, has continued but is slowing down. Hiscox Re said it is finding opportunity in non-catastrophe exposed lines such as casualty and specialty reinsurance.

Hiscox London Market increased GWP by 5 percent in local currency to £157.1 million (2015: £143.4 million). Business levels in core London Market areas are flat, with increases offsetting losses. The firm’s growth is thanks to our new teams and the activation of Hiscox MGA.

Hiscox MGA continues to develop distribution, recruiting a senior yacht and marine underwriter in Paris to develop further our Mediterranean book of business.

A combination of a lack of major loss events, excess industry capital and increased competition continues to put pressure on rates. Across the firm’s retail businesses, rate reductions are less marked however and the company said it is growing.

In Hiscox’s London Market business, rate pressure is most severe in the aviation, marine and energy, terrorism and US large property lines.

“We are growing in areas where rates are under less pressure such as casualty, auto extended warranty and small property binder business, and in our new product lines – cargo, product recall and US general liability,” said the firm.

Bronek Masojada, group chief executive officer, said: “We’ve had a very good start to the year. Our retail businesses continue to do well, growing in both broker and direct-to-consumer channels. We are navigating more difficult markets in bigger ticket lines; retreating where competition is eroding margins and growing where we see opportunity.

Hiscox, Hiscox Re, Insurance, Reinsurance, First Quarter 2016 Results, Bronek Masojada, Bermuda

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