Hiscox regrets ‘uncertainty and anguish’ after Covid claims dispute

Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter

Insurance giant Hiscox has said it regrets the “uncertainty and anguish” caused by a court wrangle with businesses making claims over the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Shares in the UK-listed company dived on Wednesday morning as it plunged to a 268.5 million dollar (£193 million) loss after it was dragged down by coronavirus-related claims.

The firm has been involved in a series of legal disputes over whether its business interruption policies should provide cover to companies facing losses due to the pandemic.

In January, the Supreme Court ruled that many of these policies should pay out.

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Hiscox said it slid to the major loss after setting aside 475 million dollars (£341 million) to cover pandemic related payouts.

Chief executive Bronek Masojada said: “We clearly regret the uncertainty and anguish that the dispute has caused to our customers, so it is important that we learn from this experience.

“Hiscox has undoubtedly suffered some brand damage this year.

“While I was reassured that net customer numbers in the UK remained stable in 2020, the route to restoring our brand is the same one which created it – providing flexible insurance cover to meet each customer’s needs, paying each claim fairly and quickly, and doing this all with good customer service.”

The company, which did not declare a dividend for the year, said it is looking forward to “with confidence” as restrictions start to unwind globally.

Shares in the company were 11% lower at 873.4p after early trading on Wednesday.