Hiscox hit with £131m natural disasters bill

Insurer Hiscox is facing £131m of claims as a result of a series of natural catastrophes last year which have hit insurers across the world.

Hiscox said in a trading statement that it was still assessing the possible impact to it from severe flooding in Australia, although it believed the company had an "underweight" exposure in this area.

Hiscox said the combined net estimate from last year's earthquakes in Chile and New Zealand, along with the Xynthia windstorm, would lead to a combined net claim of £115m.

Hiscox added it estimated net claims of £16m from record cold weather in Britain last December.

Data from the Insurance Council of Australia this month showed that the devastating floods in Queensland were expected to be a near $1bn (£633m) event for insurers, although reinsurance is seen covering more than half of it.

The United Nations also said earlier this week that last year's spate of natural disasters had caused $109bn in economic damage, with Chile and China bearing most of the cost