Hiscox Group Limited released encouraging results for the six months to 30 June 2021 as well as revised and improved forecast results for the two syndicates it manages with private capital. All operating units of the group returned to profit, with the group’s combined ratio falling to 93.1%. The London market division, reported a combined ratio of 81.7% (down from 105.2% at the same stage of 2020) and the reinsurance division a combined ratio of 76.7% (down from 123.6%).

Headline numbers are as follows

 

30 June 2021

30 June 2020

Change

Gross Written premiums

£2,426.2m

£2,235.5m

+8.5%

Net earned premiums

$1,423.1m

$1,328.2m

+7.1%

Profit (loss) before tax

$133.4m

($138.9m)

Not meaningful

Combined ratio

93.1%

114.6%

21.5 points better

Reserve releases contributed $79m. The group has reported unchanged estimates for Covid-19 related claims in 2020 at $475m, although it disclosed an additional reserve of $17m for events in 2021.  The winter storm in Texas in February has an estimated cost of $33m, although the costs of the recent floods in Germany are expected to be much smaller.  The rating in the London market division, key to a large part of Syndicate 33, are up 12% on average in 2021; the compound effect of rate movements since 2017 is now 60%.  Hiscox is buying less reinsurance for this division in order to retain more of the benefit of the improved rating environment.  It considers the opportunity for London market business the best in a decade and that conditions are expected to remain attractive for a while.

Attention was drawn to the cyber line which has been subject to increasing frequency and severity of ransomware claims.  Hiscox has reduced its overall risk appetite, reduced shares on primary business and has withdrawn from higher risk industries.  Pricing momentum is continuing to gather pace.

In the reinsurance division, where Syndicate 33 participates but also shares risk with SPA 6104, rates are up 9% on average in 2021 and up by a compound 36% since 2017.

The full announcement can be found here and the analysts' presentation pack here