Lloyd's insurer plans to take advantage of market turmoil.
The Hiscox chief executive Bronek Masojada has laid out ambitious plans to take advantage of the market turmoil as the insurer seeks to boost its capacity in Syndicate 33 and launch a new syndicate.
The insurer announced plans to raise the capacity of Syndicate 33 from £600m to £750m on Monday. It had planned to decrease the capacity to £550m. It has also applied to Lloyd’s to start a new wholly-owned syndicate, 3624, which will have a £60m capacity.
Masojada said: “Given what is happening in the stock market and in America there will be uncertainty and that will affect some firms, and you want to be prepared if the market changes. This is pretty unprecedented; it makes sense if you have flexibility.”
The company estimates claims from hurricanes Gustav and Ike at $25m (£16m) and $150m respectively, based on industry losses of $2.75bn and $17.5bn.
Masojada said the hurricanes were a significant event for the industry, but added the claims were within the company’s expectations for a 12-month period.
Last week, Lloyd’s chief executive Richard Ward said claims across the market were in line with expectations.
Hiscox has stressed currency gains outweigh any effect from the hurricanes on underwriting profit, adding increases on capital of its Bermuda and Guernsey insurance, which was $830m on June 30, will be accounted for on the balance sheet.
Masojada said: “In terms of the balance, we have $800m in capital and if you think it was $1.95 to the pound and today it is starting at $1.55 to $1.60, it is a considerable movement in a short stretch of time.”
The company paid off outstanding debt earlier in the year, with total invested assets at 30 June of £1.9bn. Investment return on the nine months to 30 September was -0.1%.
Masojada said: “There will be a continued focus on technology and SME. It’s business as usual for us there. We have great teams [in Bermuda and Guernsey], and in the UK market. It is a real strength and we will focus on that as usual.”