Hiscox Ltd 2019 full year results

"Retail profits up as Hiscox weathers a third consecutive year of storms."

For the year ended 31 December 2019. 

 

2019

2018*

Gross premiums written

$4,030.7m

$3,778.3m

Net premiums earned

$2,635.6m

$2,573.6m

Profit before tax

$53.1m

$135.6m*

Earnings per share ($)

17.2¢

41.6¢*

Earnings per share (£)

13.5p

31.2p*

Total ordinary dividend per share for the year

43.4¢

41.9¢

Net asset value per share ($)

768.2¢

798.6¢*

Net asset value per share (£)

580.1p

627.0p*

Group combined ratio

105.7%

94.9%

Return on equity

2.2%

5.3%*

Investment return

3.6%

0.7%

Reserve releases

$25.9m

$326.5m

Highlights

  • Gross premiums written up by 8.1% in constant currency, despite disciplined action to reduce $200 million in underperforming lines.
  • Group profits were impacted by large catastrophe events, with $165 million reserved for Hurricane Dorian and Typhoons Faxai and Hagibis, in addition to $25 million of reduced fees and profit commissions.
  • Hiscox Retail now a $2.2 billion business with profits increased by 22% to $178.4 million. Combined ratio of 98.7%, in line with guidance of between 97-99% for 2019.
  • Hiscox UK and Hiscox Europe generated good profits, driven by a strong performance in small business insurance.
  • Hiscox USA is profitable, with action taken to improve performance in D&O and media business progressing as planned.
  • 180,000 Retail customers added in 2019, taking the total to 1.2 million globally – including more than 450,000 direct and partnerships customers. Growth in Retail expected to be in the middle of the 5-15% target range for 2020.
  • Retail combined ratio to improve by 1-2% per annum and return to 90-95% target range in 2022.
  • Hiscox London Market impacted by catastrophes and property claims, but market conditions continue to improve. Hiscox Syndicate 33 increased its capacity by 19% to make the most of any opportunities for profitable growth in 2020 as rates rise for the third successive year, up in 14 out of 15 lines.
  • Hiscox Re & ILS impacted by natural catastrophes, market-wide adverse development on prior year catastrophes, as well as deterioration in some previously exited lines.
  • Strong investment return of $223.0 million (2018: $38.1 million).
  • Robust reserves 9.4% above actuarial estimate, with continued positive development in Retail. Reserve releases expected to be between 3-5% of opening net reserves in 2020.
  • Full year dividend up by 3.5% to 29.6 cents, in line with the Group’s progressive dividend policy.

Bronek Masojada, Chief Executive Officer, Hiscox Ltd, commented:

“Our strategy of balance, between big-ticket lines and our more steady retail earnings, provides resilience and opportunity. Our growing Retail profits and strong investment return has enabled us to weather a third consecutive year of storms. We are investing for growth as we look to capture the many opportunities we see ahead.” 

*These figures have been restated to reflect previously announced tax provisions. See note 2.2 of the financial statements.

2020 events: Coronavirus and UK floods

It is too early to estimate the impact of the Coronavirus. The main areas of potential exposure for Hiscox are event cancellation, travel and personal accident cover and we have received notifications of small claims to date. Pandemic is only covered in a very small part of the portfolio where we have very controlled net exposure.

Some Hiscox UK household customers have unfortunately suffered flooding from the recent storms and our claims teams are working hard to get them back to normal. To date we have had 112 claims of which over 50% are reinsured with Flood Re, the Government-backed flood insurance programme. Net losses are well within our expected catastrophe loss budget for the quarter. 

For further information

Hiscox Ltd       

Marc Wetherhill, Group Company Secretary, Bermuda                 +1 441 278 8300

Kylie O’Connor, Head of Group Communications, London           +44 (0)20 7448 6656

Ryan Thompson, Investor Relations Manager, London                +44 (0)20 7448 6522

Brunswick

Tom Burns        +44 (0)20 7404 5959

Simone Selzer   +44 (0)20 7404 5959

Notes to editors

About The Hiscox Group

Hiscox is a global specialist insurer, headquartered in Bermuda and listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:HSX). Our ambition is to be a respected specialist insurer with a diverse portfolio by product and geography. We believe that building balance between catastrophe-exposed business and less volatile local specialty business gives us opportunities for profitable growth throughout the insurance cycle. 

The Hiscox Group employs over 3,100 people in 14 countries, and has customers worldwide. Through the retail businesses in the UK, Europe, Asia and the USA, we offer a range of specialist insurance for professionals and business customers as well as homeowners. Internationally traded, bigger ticket business and reinsurance is underwritten through Hiscox London Market and Hiscox Re & ILS.

Our values define our business, with a focus on people, courage, ownership and integrity. We pride ourselves on being true to our word and our award-winning claims service is testament to that. For more information, visit www.hiscoxgroup.com.

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