. US insurer Chubb has offered to buy the remaining 72% of Lloyd's insurer Hiscox, worth around £220m.
US insurer Chubb has offered to buy the remaining 72% of Lloyd's insurer Hiscox, worth around £220m.
The London Stock Exchange was informed of the bid after shares in Hiscox leapt by almost 50% on Tuesday, from an opening price of 145.5p to 215.5p.
A statement from Hiscox said: “Hiscox confirms that it has been approached by the Chubb Corporation regarding a possible offer for the company.”
Hiscox stressed that its talks with Chubb may or may not lead to a formal offer being made.
Analysts said the new share price would value Hiscox at £307m.
Chubb is the latest US insurer to seek to consolidate its presence at Lloyd's. It already owns 28% of the company. Another 28% of the shares are held by a block of Hiscox directors and staff. Chairman Robert Hiscox is believed to have a 5.45% stake in the company his father founded.
Late last year, American billionaire Warren Buffett acquired Lloyd's marine managing agency Malborough for £10m after it was cast off by CGNU.
Part of the attraction is that Lloyd's is undergoing a period of expansion which has seen it increase its capacity by £1bn to £11bn for 2001.
A merger of the two insurers would also create a powerful new force in the high net worth market.
Hiscox, through its £360m capacity composite syndicate 33, writes among other lines kidnap and ransom, fine art and yacht insurance. Its managing agency is 60% owned by Hiscox and 40% by Names and other capital providers.
Chubb is widely known for its Masterpiece policy for high income bracket people which has 30,000 UK customers.
The US insurer has a Stock Market value of £10bn and provides commercial, marine and liability