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Hiscox profit halves but chairman praises ‘robust performance’

Hiscox’s pre-tax profit fell by more than 50% to £105.2m last year, from £237.2m in 2007.

Gross written premium was £1.15bn, down from £1.2bn in 2007. Total dividend for the year increased 6.25% to 12.75p for 2008.

Robert Hiscox, the insurer’s chairman, said it was “a robust performance, especially in view of the near collapse of the financial markets and the third most expensive hurricane on record”.

He added: “Rates in our markets are increasing selectively, especially in reinsurance, which is a third of our book, so conditions are good for our existing and new teams to continue to grow a profitable balanced business.”

Record year at Carole Nash

Carole Nash has posted pre-tax profit of £7.6m (£6.3m in 2007) on turnover of £25m (£24.9m in 2007) for the year to 31 December 2008.

The broker said new ancillary products, increased efficiency and an increase in online activity had helped it to post a record profit.

David Newman, chief executive at Carole Nash, said: “These results ... demonstrate our continued ability to innovate and effectively manage our cost base.”

Forstmoser to leave Swiss Re

Peter Forstmoser, chairman of Swiss Re, is to step down from the board of directors on 1 May.

He will be replaced by Walter Kielholz, the current vice-chairman.

Mathis Cabiallavetta, a member of the board, has been appointed vice-chairman.

Forstmoser said he had decided to step down a year earlier than planned because Swiss Re had set a new course for its development.