Hiscox claims market turn ahead
Hiscox has announced that it made a pre-tax profit of $163.6 million for the first half of 2018, an increase from the $129.1 million it posted for the first six months of 2017.
“It has been a good start to the year,” said Bronek Masojada, chief executive officer, Hiscox. “Our investment across the business is driving strong profitable growth in all segments. We are on track to exceed one million retail customers in 2018.”
The company said that gross written premiums increased by 21.4 percent from $1.84 billion in the first half of 2017 to $2.23 billion in the same period of 2018. Net earned premiums went from $1.18 billion in the first half of 2017 to $1.28 billion in 2018 so far. Following functional currency changes to US Dollars Hiscox said it had seen a reduced impact of foreign exchange resulting in a smaller loss of $8.5 million (2017: loss of $38.8 million). The net combined ratio for the first six months of 2018 was 87.9 percent, down on the 90.8 percent it reported for the first six months of 2017.
In a statement the company said that: “Our retail operations in their respective geographies continue to develop and grow and in big-ticket lines, we remain disciplined. It was pleasing to see the business move quickly to capitalise on higher rates following the natural catastrophes of last year, and we will now maintain our underwriting discipline as rates in big-ticket lines flatten. It has been a good start to the year, but hurricanes can blow us off course in the second half.”
Hiscox added that: “We started the year well, capitalising on the improved conditions in Hiscox London Market and Hiscox Re & ILS, as we led the way in achieving necessary rate increases. We are seeing momentum behind rate increases begin to slow and we expect our rate of premium growth to decline correspondingly.
“In our London Market business, rate improvement has been most pronounced in catastrophe-exposed and loss-affected lines such as major property (up 16 percent in aggregate) and US household and commercial property binders which have seen increases of up to 10 percent. In our reinsurance business, rates were up on average 10 percent but have flattened during the year. Despite this, conditions have improved year-on-year and currently rates are at levels where our own and third-party capital can be put to good use.
“The retail businesses have experienced a more stable rating environment and we have grown as a result.”
Hiscox, pre-tax, profit, first half, 2018, good, start, Bronek, Masojada