Hiscox Rocked by Natural Disasters in Third Quarter

Hiscox Ltd said a stormy three months has led to a net US$165mln hit to cover the impact of Typhoon Faxai, Typhoon Hagibis, and Hurricane Dorian.

Source: Proactive | Published on November 4, 2019

In a trading update, the FTSE 100-listed insurer said an “active claims environment” in the three months until the end of September meant it upped its reserves “materially in excess” of its catastrophe budget for the second half.

Fees and profit commissions are also expected to be US$25mln lower at the year-end, the specialist insurer said.

However, the company shook off the turbulent weather impact by growing its gross written premiums by 7.3% in constant currency to US$3.2bn in the period, led by growth in its London market underwriting business, which accelerated 9.7% to US$722mln.

The group said this was mostly due to rising rates across its public company D&O, cargo, general liability, marine hull and major property segments.

It also noted that there is still a significant degree of uncertainty around the industry losses, particularly for Typhoon Hagibis where widespread flooding took place.

Hiscox's chief executive Bronek Masojada said of the higher reserves that “paying claims is what we are here for”, and added that the last quarter saw “good growth across all of our segments”, with the group's retail division on track to meet full-year profit expectations.

In early trade on Monday, Hiscox shares were 1.8% lower at 1,449p, having hit a six-month low on Friday, with the stock having sunk since issuing a profit warning in July.