Chairman rails against questionable underwriting decisions

Hiscox chairman Robert Hiscox was in fine form this week in his statement accompanying the insurer’s preliminary results for 2007.

Never one to mince his words and employing his usual colourful touches, Hiscox railed against some insurers’ questionable underwriting decisions.

“The insurance cycle is alive and definitely kicking and it would appear that some insurers are, as usual, suffering from rapid and severe memory loss,” he says.

“Rates are reducing rapidly in obvious areas where there are large premiums to be competed for and the lust for non-catastrophe exposed business is turning underwriting discipline to jelly.”

“I sometimes wonder whether underwriters who have made a 10% profit and then reduce rates by 10% think they are going to

make 9%, instead of the obvious nil.”