Hiscox joined the throng of insurers surging back into profit for 2002,despite having to increase reserves for its WTC losses.

The group reported £20.3m profit before tax in 2002,up from a loss of £32.5m in 2001.

Much of the recovery came from the group 's Syndicate 33 at Lloyd 's, where total gross written premiums increased to £726m from £574m in 2001.Hiscox plc 's share of this income grew by 35%to £461.8m from £343.2m in 2001.

The group increased its estimate of WTC net losses by £10m to £40m.

Chief executive Bronek Masojada said the increase was due to rising fears of bad debts from reinsurers, following rating downgrades.

Also a big telecommunications claim hit the syndicate, calling for extra reserving to close Syndicate 33 's 2000 year of account.

The group had paid 58%of the estimated total by the end of February, including a payment to twin towers leaseholder Larry Silverstein.

The group's London Market operations achieved a combined ratio of 94.1%. Its UK retail operations achieved 96% and its international business hit 97.5%.