London & US segments drive top line growth at Hiscox

27-07-2015

Bermuda-headquartered Hiscox posted a strong set of results for the first half of 2015.  

Its gross written premiums jumped 12 percent to £1.1 billion in the first half of 2015, compared with £978.9 million in the first half of 2014. The increase was driven by opportunities in the London market business and a continued good performance from Hiscox US. 

Hiscox US, which underwrites the small-to-mid market commercial risks, increased premiums by 28.2 percent to £138.1 million in the first half of 2015, compared with £107.8 million. This was despite the impact of withdrawing from unprofitable construction property business in 2014. 

“Hiscox US also benefited from a continued good claims experience. The professions business, which includes errors and omissions and general liability cover, did extremely well, more than offsetting reductions in lines where rates are under pressure, such as commercial property,” said the insurer. 

Its Lloyd’s business experienced a GWP increase to £306.4 million in the first half of 2015, compared with £251.7 million in the first half of 2014. 

“Hiscox London Market had an excellent start to the year despite fierce competition in many lines. Good growth of 21.7 percent was achieved despite the team walking away from poorly rated business,” said Hiscox.

Hiscox Re, Hiscox’s reinsurance business, also reported growth in GWP to £287.8 million in the first half of 2015, compared with £271.5 million in the first half of 2014. This was driven by business for its third party insurance-linked securities (ILS) partners in its Kiskadee funds. 

Healthcare and specialty lines continue to grow steadily while the segment also continued to benefit from the lack of major catastrophes.

Meanwhile, Hiscox’s profits before tax hit £135.1 million in the first half of 2015, compared with £124.6 million in the same period of 2014. It reported a combined ratio of 82.5 percent, compared with 82 percent in the first half of 2014. 

Bronek Masojada, chief executive officer of Hiscox, said: “We are reaping the benefits of our growing retail specialty businesses in the UK, Europe and the US.  Although conditions for reinsurance and big ticket insurance remain tough, our teams have demonstrated their creativity and determination to succeed. Hiscox has the brand, distribution and talent for a bright future.”

Robert Childs, chairman of Hiscox, added: “Hiscox delivered a pleasing profit of £135.1 million in the first half, thanks to a combination of sound underwriting, the growing strength of our retail operations, and a paucity of major catastrophes. 

“The top line was up by 12 percent driven mainly by opportunities in the London Market business and a continued good performance from Hiscox US. As usual, we are reporting on the cusp of the hurricane season and Mother Nature can still deliver some surprises in the second half.”

Hiscox, Hiscox US, Lloyds, Hiscox Re, Bronek Masojada, Robert Childs, Bermuda, North America

Bermuda Re