Hiscox profits slump as third year of heavy cat losses take their toll


Hiscox saw profits slump in its provisional results for 2019, with a third consecutive year of above average natural catastrophes taking its toll on the business. However, the re/insurer avoided making a loss. 

Profit before tax was down to $53.1 million for 2019, from $135.6 million in 2018.

Meanwhile, gross written premiums were $4.03 billion for 2019, up from $3.78 billion in 2018. But Hiscox’s combined ratio rose to 105.7 percent, from 94.9 percent in 2018.

At the group level, $165 million was reserved for Hurricane Dorian and Typhoons Faxai and Hagibis, in addition to $25 million of reduced fees and profit commissions. 

Hiscox Re & ILS was particularly badly affected by catastrophes, making a loss before tax of $93.8 million in 2019. The business made a loss of $28.7 million in 2018. 

The reinsurance and ILS business was particularly exposed to Japanese typhoons, Hiscox noted. The business also saw unusual prior year deteriorations, due to the adverse development of 2018 Typhoon Jebi, and the need to strengthen reserves for the healthcare business which we exited in 2017, which also undermined performance.

Hiscox Re & ILS had a combined ratio of 163.9 percent in 2019, up from 116.9 percent in 2018..

Bronek Masojada, chief executive officer at Hiscox, said retail profits and investment performance had helped it maintain profitability. “Our strategy of balance, between big-ticket lines and our more steady retail earnings, provides resilience and opportunity,” he said. 

“We are investing for growth as we look to capture the many opportunities we see ahead,” Masojada added. 

Hiscox, Results, Bronek Masojada

Bermuda Re