Hiscox posts solid first quarter results following catastrophe-hit 2017

Insurance firm Hiscox announced a solid set of first quarter results this morning following a tough 2017 which was marked by a series of natural disasters.

The Lloyds underwriter increased its gross written premiums by 24 per cent on a constant currency basis to $1.155bn (£855m), up from $929m in the same period last year.

Read more: Hurricanes blow bonuses away at insurer Hiscox

Chief executive Bronek Masojada said: "After a costly year for catastrophes in 2017, our London market and reinsurance businesses mobilised quickly to grasp the opportunity and grew strongly. Sadly, discipline and good sense is receding in the market, so for the rest of the year growth in big-ticket business will be more measured.

"Our long-term strategy of investing in less volatile retail lines continues to provide balance and opportunity for growth."

Hiscox said that London market rates have improved in the most catastrophe-prone businesses.

Read more: Hiscox profits dive after "historic" year for natural catastrophes

Rates in major property have increased by 20 per cent, while US household and commercial property books have seen increases of up to 10 per cent.

Hiscox UK and Ireland increased gross written premiums by 12.9 per cent on a constant currency basis to $197.7m.

It said that its strong performance “more than offset” the impact from February and Marchs unseasonably cold weather, the Beast from the East.

The results mark an improvement on 2017 when a series of devastating Atlantic hurricanes impacted profits.

Senior executives at Hiscox missed out on their 2017 bonuses after return of equity fell below 1.5 per cent, the required threshold for payment.

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