Hold Hiscox in the calm before the storm: The whole point of insurance is to protect against unpredictable risks, and so it’s only right that the Hiscox team are scanning the horizon for the next big claim. Robert Childs, the firm’s Chairman, warned that “a prevailing mood of suspicion and scepticism towards the financial services industry” could mean that the state support that kept the wheels on the sector in the aftermath of 9/11 might not be repeated in future. The FTSE 250 company wrote 12% more premiums in the period, totalling almost £1.1 billion, and group pretax profits rose 8.4% to £135.1 million. The interim dividend rose 6.7% to 8p per share, although the firm cautioned that next year’s Solvency II capital requirements for insurers, along with the looming hurricane season, could swerve into the path of its returns policy. Hiscox is one of the most diversified and well-run in the business, but it is liable to fall to earth along with the rest of the market once claims rise. Hold, for as long as you think the sector can outrun Mother Nature. Hiscox at 890.5p -40.5p. Questor says “Hold.”
Insurer Hiscox’s growth lifted by fewer disasters in first months of 2015: International specialist insurer Hiscox has reported a 12% quarterly increase in gross written premiums (GWP), boosted by currency movements and fewer disasters.
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