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Bermuda-based Hiscox saw its full year 2017 profits fall sharply but remained in the black despite heavy natural catastrophe losses, claiming that the market is turning.
The company reported a pre-tax profit of £93.6 million, a fall of more than 50 percent from the £202.1 million it made over 2016.
Gross premiums written rose from £2.4 billion in 2016 to £2.55 billion in 2017, whilst hurricanes and wildfires in the second half of the year drove its group combined ratio up from 84.2 percent in 2016 to 99.9 percent in 2017.
In a statement about the outlook for the company chairman Robert Childs said that: “The $140 billion of catastrophe losses across the sector led to capital destruction and reserve deficits, and as a result the market is turning. This is not an immediate process; it comes about through each difficult conversation, each new quotation and each renewal. We have been waiting for this, and the good teams we have built and innovative products we have developed mean we are well placed to serve the needs of more customers. Being an
underwriter in a changing market brings out the battler in us, and I have been proud of the resolve of our teams.
“Our big-ticket businesses have a renewed vigour, and our retail businesses continue to shine. The balanced business we have been building for over 20 years continues to give us options throughout the insurance cycle and there is significant headroom to increase market share across all our retail businesses. We see plenty of opportunity to deliver profitable growth and further value to shareholders.”
“Our long-held strategy of balance has served us well this year,” said chief executive officer Bronek Masojada.“The strong growth and profits in retail countered the volatility felt in our big-ticket businesses which were impacted by an historic year for natural catastrophes. We have made significant investments in infrastructure and brand both of which will continue. Market pricing has improved and as a consequence we have growth ambitions for every part of our business.”
Hiscox, 2017, results, 2016, market, turn, prediction