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Hiscox H1 profit surges on falling UK pound

IBR Staff Writer Published 26 July 2016

Insurance group Hiscox has reported a sharp increase in its profits for the first half of this year, helped by a depreciating UK pound.

Hiscox earned a pre-tax profit of £206m in January-June period compared to £135.1m in the same period last year.

The surge in profits was mainly led by an increase in foreign currency holdings and earnings by £87.3m in the first six months of 2016.

A significant contribution for its strong performance was due to 25% increase in revenues from Hiscox’s US business.

Hiscox’s revenue grew 9.7%in London market, benefiting from new classes of business and expertise in niche areas.

Hiscox chief executive officer Bronek Masojada said: "Our retail businesses continue to grow in strength and profitability. Hiscox London Market and Hiscox Re have been disciplined in tough markets.

“Brexit has caused volatility and Sterling weakness, resulting in a foreign exchange gain which has benefited the bottom line. As this good result illustrates, our strategy, our people and our brand can deliver opportunities."

The company’s gross written premiums rose to £1,288.5m in the first half from £1,096.3m in the corresponding period a year earlier.

Hiscox said: “There is a great deal of uncertainty about what is going to happen now the UK has voted to leave the European Union. We are preparing for a range of outcomes, depending on whether we remain in the single market or need to navigate new trading arrangements.

“Over the coming months and years we will work to understand future trading arrangements, and if necessary set up a new EU-based insurance company.”

Hiscox’s gross written premium grew by 9.3% to £244.4m in the UK and Ireland, while they grew by 7.5% to €132.6m in Europe.

The Bermuda-headquartered insurer generated gross premiums written of £1,944.2m and a profit before tax of £216.1m in 2015.

Currently, it employs over 2,200 people in 14 countries.


Image: Hiscox is an underwriter at the Lloyd's of London insurance market. Photo courtesy of phogel from germany/Wikipedia.