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Aug 03, 2022

Hiscox plc Interim results for the six months to 30 June 2022

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Hiscox plc has released its Interim Results to the London Stock Exchange available here in full.

Some extracts which we hope readers find interesting and relevant from the statement as follows:-

  • Gross premiums written: US$2,649.8m; + 9%;
  • Underwriting result: US$123.2m; $99.8m in 2020 HY; UP 23.% and best result since 2018;
  • Investment result: US$(214.1)m; $61.9m in 2020 HY; equates to -3% on mainly unrealised losses;
  • (Loss)/profit before tax: US$(107.4)m; $133.4m in 2020 HY;
  • Group combined ratio: 91.3%; 93.1% in 2020 HY;
  • Positive prior year development: US$76.9m; $79.0m in 2020 HY.

Ukraine

"We estimate that our ultimate loss from all risks in Ukraine and Russia, including aviation (in Hiscox Re & ILS), is $48 million net of reinsurance , with $34 million attributable to Hiscox London Market, currently the majority of reserve comprises IBNR.". This amount includes reinstatement premiums.

Predominantly the impact is on the London Market division and to a smaller extent in Hiscox Re & ILS.

Ukraine accounts for 10 percentage points of Hiscox London Market's combined ratio of 86.1%.

Hiscox London Market exited the aviation hull insurance business in 2018 and political risk/trade credit business in 2017.

Reserves

20% of 2019 and prior years' gross reserves reinsured up to a 1-in-200 downside risk through four Loss Portfolio Transfers executed over the last two years.

"Conservatively reserved with a 11.0% margin above actuarial best estimate (H1 2021: 11.3%)."

Inflation

"We have a conservative reserving approach and are slow to release good news in our longer-tailed casualty lines. We have various elements of inflation loaded in our loss ratio picks already, our case reserves are set and reviewed in light of the current inflationary outlook, and we have added a further $55 million precautionary net inflationary load to our best estimate in the first half."

Rates

  • Hiscox London Market achieved an 8% rate increase in the first half, which equates to a 72% cumulative rate rise since 2017.
  • Cyber continues to experience a hard market with rates up 60% this year.
  • Marine liability rates are up over 20% driven by significant rate increases on the renewal of International Group of Protection & Indemnity Clubs' reinsurance programme
  • Property binders and commercial property continue to experience strong rate growth, assisted by further capacity being withdrawn from the market.
  • Competition remains challenging in lines that have historically performed strongly, such as K&R and terrorism, although the first signs of re-rating appeared in the second quarter in response to the conflict in Ukraine.
  • D&O rates have continued to soften, although remaining well priced - having seen rate increases approaching 250% over the past five years.
  • Hiscox Re & ILS achieved a 13% rate increase in the first half, driven by capacity constraints in retrocession, North American catastrophe and cyber, and increase in demand from clients who are starting to buy more limit in an inflationary environment. This equates to a cumulative rate increase of 52% since 2017.

Further information on the other divisions is contained in the statement.

Hiscox London Market

This is largely Syndicate 33's business

  • The business benefitted from exposure growth in public D&O while cyber also grew well driven by rate.
  • Overall though, Hiscox London Market's gross premiums written reduced by 3.0% to $591.9 million (H1 2021: $609.9 million), mainly as a result of planned action to further reduce under-priced natural catastrophe exposure in our property binder book, which has taken 5.3 percentage points from the division's top-line growth in the first half.
  • Since 2018, we have reduced gross premiums written with natural catastrophe exposure by over $160 million.
  • While property binder rate strengthened 9% this year, the increased frequency and severity of events and losses means this asset class, although profitable, is not delivering adequate returns on capital. Thus, we are likely to continue with re-underwriting actions focused on further rate increases and managing aggregate exposures to mitigate inflation, litigation and climate impacts.

Author's comment

This is a strong underwriting result up 23.4% on the prior half-year period and Hiscox's best result since 2018. The statement contains positive news on rate momentum which is running ahead of inflation. A good combined ratio across the board and for Hiscox London Market the ratio (excluding Ukraine) is 5 percentage points better than 2021 half-year. A very slight increase on the Ukraine estimate Hiscox's shares are down 8% at the time of writing. Hiscox's website should have access to the slides given at the presentation to analysts later this morning.