Lloyd’s insurer still negotiating with Willis on Global 360 placement programme

Lloyd’s insurer Hiscox’s UK retail business wrote £312.8m of gross premium (GWP) in the first nine months for 2013, up 10.5% on the £283m it wrote in the same period last year.

The company also revealed in its interim management statement (IMS) this morning that it is still in talks with Willis about participating in the broker’s Global 360 subscription market placement programme.

UK premium growth

Hiscox said the growth of its UK premium in the first nine months of the year was supported by “excellent” retention of existing business in all areas, pricing improvements and new schemes business.

The company said in its IMS: “Distinctive marketing and improvements made to the online small business journey have resulted in good growth for the direct-to-consumer business.”

Hiscox said it had a “small number” of claims from the St Jude storm that battered southern England last week, mainly because of low-level wind damage. But it added: “In aggregate we do not expect this to be a material loss for the group.”

Global 360 talks

Hiscox said its London market insurance business is still in discussions with Willis about providing capacity to the broker’s Global 360 programme. Willis announced two weeks ago that it had attracted interest from Berkshire Hathaway and the People’s Insurance Company of China as well as Hiscox, but Hiscox clarified at the time that it had not yet signed up to Global 360.

The company said in this morning’s IMS: “We have a lot of experience with such facilities and recently the market has seen an increase in their number and size.

“We believe they can be beneficial, but we will always stick to our underwriting tenets that we can select individual risks and retain the right of veto. The growing number of such facilities already forms part of our premium expectations for next year.”

Gross written premiums at Hiscox’s London market insurance business increased by 25% to £352.2m in the first nine months of 2013 from £292.2m in the same period of 2012.

The company said: “We are growing in well rated areas, mainly in US property insurance and our fire, theft, collision and extended warranty business. In preparation for an improving market, the casualty division continues to invest in new hires with the addition of a number of high-profile D&O [directors’ and officers’ liability] underwriters.”

Group rise

Group-wide, GWP for the first nine months was up 10.1% to £1.4bn from £1.2bn.

The company said reinsurance rates across its book had fallen 10% year on year. However, it added insurance rates were “steady to rising”, with increases of 5% year-on-year in US property, marine liability and US casualty.

Hiscox chief executive Bronek Masojada said in the IMS: “I am very pleased with the group’s performance.

“Our insurance business has seen good growth at both the top and bottom line, and we continue to underwrite reinsurance at the right price. We have diversity by product and geography and see good opportunities for 2014 and beyond.”

Hiscox nine-month GWP performance in £m

 Nine-month 2013Nine-month 2012Change
Hiscox London Market549.3499.310.0%
- insurance352.2292.220.5%
- reinsurance197.1207.1-4.9%
Hiscox international   
- Bermuda194.2189.92.3%
- Guernsey54.655.3-1.3%
- US142.2109.330.1%
Hiscox UK312.8283.010.5%
Hiscox Europe117.4107.69.1%