Hiscox backs Bermuda tax base as catastrophes push it to £86m loss

LLOYD’S insurer Hiscox said record levels of catastrophes over the past six months pushed it to an £85.6m pre-tax loss yesterday.

Hiscox’s chief executive Bronek Masojada told City A.M. the period had been “very active” and 2011 would be “a record-breaking year” for disasters, but played down the impact on the insurer.

“This is not the end of the world, it is what we are here for,” he said.

Masojada also denied that Hiscox would be following rival Lancashire in returning its tax base to the UK, noting that Hiscox was “very happy being based in Bermuda”.

“We are building business in the US and being based in Bermuda makes us less London-centric,” he added.

Hiscox, the second-biggest Lloyd’s insurer, cut its gross written premiums by 6.7 per cent compared with the first half of 2010, to £847.5m, in line with its aim of steering clear of unprofitable underwriting.

Masojada said he expected full-year revenues to be flat or slightly lower than 2010, while Hiscox had raised the capacity of its main syndicate 33 by £100m for 2012, “effectively providing ourselves with a bit more headroom for next year” as rates improved.

Analysts on average expect Hiscox to turn an £11m profit for the full year.