Hiscox sees profits fall as insurance rates fall

The Hiscox Building, Peasholme Green, York.
1st December 2015.
The Hiscox Building, Peasholme Green, York. 1st December 2015.
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Insurer Hiscox reprted a fall in full year profit as falling insurance rates offset gains.

The Lloyd’s of London underwriter reported a 6.5 per cent fall in full-year pretax profit, as falling insurance rates offset gains from a benign natural catastrophe year.

Hiscox, which underwrites a range of risks from oil refineries to kidnappings, said it would return 32p per share to shareholders, including a special dividend of 16p per share.

Going forward, the company will retain a greater proportion of earnings to fund growth opportunities, Hiscox said.

Gross written premiums rose 10.7 per cent to £1.94bn in the year ended December 31.

Bronek Masojada, chief executive of Hiscox, said: “Our strategy continues to deliver good growth with our retail businesses contributing 50 per cent of income.

“We have established profitable operations in everything from direct-to-consumer small business insurance to ILS fund management. This diversity sets us apart and gives us options.”

In December last year Hiscox opened its landmark office in York, a £19m investement in the Hungate area of the city. Currently the office in York employs 230 people and is the firm’s biggest base outside of London.

Tom Dougherty.

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