Hiscox Positive Despite Hefty COVID Costs

Insurance group Hiscox said it remains ready to take advantage of the projected uptick in rates as it reported a loss of nearly $139 million for the first half of the year.

The group has set aside $232 million for COVID-19 related claims but said it had been able to manage the impact of the pandemic on its business operations well.

“The dedication of our people around the world has enabled the business to respond to the challenges of this global pandemic and to deliver a resilient performance,” said Hiscox CEO Bronek Masojada. (pic). “Our investment in technology has paid off in all areas and supported our growth in Hiscox Retail and Hiscox London Market.

“Our long-held strategy of balancing volatile big-ticket risks with our more steady retail earnings in the US, UK and Europe provides both stability and opportunity. We are well positioned to capture the opportunities ahead in all our markets and in all our segments around the world.”

The company said it had supported our employees, customers and society through a challenging period, with over $7 million donated to causes in support of those impacted by COVID-19 and partnerships to directly support SMEs.

It has over 95% of employees working remotely and had not been in a position to need to put any of its staff on furlough.

Gross written premiums fell by 4% “as diversified strategy enables us to grow in Hiscox Retail and Hiscox London Market while remaining disciplined in Hiscox Re & ILS,” it added.

Hiscox Retail saw premiums increase 4%, driven by growth in four of five business units, and what was described as good underlying profitability.

The rising pace of rate hardening and “impacts of recent portfolio action” have created “an expectation of better returns” in Hiscox London Market, where rates are up 13% year to date.

The group said they continue to “keep our powder dry” in terms of Hiscox Re & ILS as conditions begin to improve. The underwriter said rates had increased by 11% with further improvement expected in the months to come.

As previously announced the company will not be paying an interim dividend.