Hiscox warns of slower premium growth towards end of year

Specialist insurer Hiscox saw an increase in gross written premiums during the nine months to September, but warned that growth could moderate towards the end of the year.

Gross written premiums increased by 14.3% to 3 billion US dollars (£2.31 billion) in period ending September 30.

Shares in the company dropped 7.6% in morning trading after it said a challenging market could slow premium growth.

Chief executive Bronek Masojada said: “We have had strong growth, but, as the market remains challenging, we will remain disciplined, and I expect our growth to moderate over the balance of the year.

“It has been an active third quarter for claims across the group, both from large losses and catastrophes, and I am pleased with how we have responded.”

FTSE 100 photos
FTSE 100 photos

The firm had a busy third quarter as natural disasters in the US and the Far East increased claims activity.

The group reserved 125 million dollars (£96.23 million) to cover claims and reduced profit commissions resulting from hurricanes Florence and Michael in the US and Typhoons Jebi and Trammi in Japan.

There was also an increase in larger individual claims, including higher rates of subsidence in the UK and Ireland following the long hot summer.

Hiscox, which has been preparing for a “worst-case scenario” Brexit, now has a fully operational European subsidy and has been making use of the Lloyd’s of London Brussels outpost.

The cost of reorganising the business so far stands at 15 million US dollars (£11.5 million), and the group plans to inject about 40 million euros (£35 million) into the new entity.