Belfast Telegraph

Hiscox benefits from sterling's post-Brexit weakness

Insurer Hiscox has said it has been boosted by the collapse in sterling following Britain's decision to quit the European Union, adding that it could set up a new EU-based company.

The firm said pre-tax profits rose from £135.1 million to £206 million in the first half of the year, with gross premiums growing to £1.29 billion.

Chief executive Bronek Masojada said: "Our retail businesses continue to grow in strength and profitability. Hiscox London Market and Hiscox Re have been disciplined in tough markets.

"Brexit has caused volatility and sterling weakness, resulting in a foreign exchange gain which has benefited the bottom line."

Hiscox added that it is preparing for a "range of outcomes" in the wake of Brexit, depending on whether the UK remains in the single market.

"Over the coming months and years we will work to understand future trading arrangements, and if necessary set up a new EU-based insurance company," Hiscox said.

The specialist insurer added that, despite the good start to the year, it remains cautious ahead of the hurricane season.

Eamonn Flanagan, analyst at Shore Capital, said: " Hiscox delivered a robust underlying performance in H1 2016 with results that were slightly ahead of our underlying forecast.

"However, the headline figures were positively impacted by the Brexit-induced forex moves, resulting in headline pre-tax profits significantly ahead of consensus and comfortably ahead of our top-of-the-range expectations. Forex aside, the commentary from Hiscox remains consistent."