Friday 12 July 2019 9:13 am

Hiscox trumps profit forecasts but warns of profit hit from natural disasters

A spate of natural disasters battered insurance giant Hiscox over the last year, with the insurer’s share price sliding five per cent this morning as it warned of a deteriorating market.

The London-listed group’s share price fell five per cent to 1,653p in early morning trading, as investors digested the group’s warning that global catastrophes were likely to knock profits.

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Yet despite being set back by a number of catastrophic typhoons and hurricanes, the firm issued a better-than-expected earnings forecast this morning.

The FTSE 100 insurer said that profits before tax for the first half of 2019 would be between $150m (£120m) and $170m, beating the average analysts’ estimate of $152.6m as per Refinitiv data.

Disasters such as Typhoon Jebi in Japan and Hurricane Michael in Florida, however, caused the group to warn of a “continued deterioration” in the market.

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“The scale of deterioration has been significant, with industry loss estimates having increased materially since these events,” the firm said.

Hisxoc said that it has strengthened reserves for prior year claims from Typhoon Jebi, Hurricane Michael and for the risk excess book.

In May the Lloyd’s of London insurer said that gross written premiums in the first three months of the year as rates improved in the London market.