Hiscox set to break 2006 results record

dHiscox is set to break its 2006 record for full-year results, according to a trading update released this week.

Analysts were impressed, with Numis seeking to upgrade Hiscox’s earnings per share by around 10%.

The insurer reported gross premium income to the end of November increased 10% to £1,142m, compared to £1,038m in 2006.

The Lloyd’s insurer also expects to see an increased return on its investment portfolio, which was £78.5m in 2006.

Hiscox said: “Smaller risks, the core of our retail strategy, are seeing slightly less competition and we have gently increased rates in the UK household account.

The insurer added that sub-prime exposure in its investment portfolio was negligible, and exposure in its underwriting was “very modest and well reserved”.

As a result, Numis reite-rated its ‘buy’ rating and said it expected to upgrade 2007 EPS by around 10% from the current 37.2p, noting that Hiscox is “trading well”.

“We expect the shares to outperform during the broader downturn in rates,” Numis added.

Shares in Hiscox rose to 262.5p on Monday up from 261p. As Insurance Times went to press Hiscox shares were trading at 257.75p.

Meanwhile Admiral Group said it was to increase its UK motor premium retention for the 2008 underwriting year to 27.5% from the current 22.5%.

Shares in Admiral were trading at 1098p as Insurance Times went to press, a 10% rise from 1001p last week.

Brit shares surged 12% to 217p after last week’s 14% decline due to sub-prime fears. IT.