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Hiscox finds growth in ‘right areas’

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Hiscox’s gross written premium gained 3.3% to $US1.17 billion ($1.66 billion) in the first quarter as the specialty insurer focused on areas of strong rate growth.

The Bermuda-based group says Hiscox Retail continued its disciplined approach, while Hiscox London Market and Hiscox Re insurance-linked securities were “opportunistic”, growing where rates are improving most.

“In the London market and in reinsurance, where conditions are improving, we are growing in the right areas and maintaining our focus on writing profitable business,” CEO Bronek Masojada said.

The group expects growth in its retail businesses to be towards the midpoint of its 5-15% target range in the second half.

For Hiscox London Market, rates have increased across the portfolio by about 4% this year, with cargo, marine hull and US public company directors’ and officers’ posting the most significant, double-digit rises.

In reinsurance, rates gained about 2% across the portfolio, with the retrocession and risk excess accounts outperforming.

Rates in US catastrophe-exposed business grew by low single digits, while international rates overall were down slightly despite a jump of more than 25% on loss-affected Japanese business at the April renewals.

Hiscox says its year-to-date investment return is already well ahead of its position at the end of last year, and the group will remain conservatively positioned.