Strong premium growth of 10.7% from across the Group, with retail businesses now generating 50% of income.
Each division delivered good profits through careful risk selection, growth in profitable niches and an absence of natural catastrophes.
Investment in the Hiscox brand continues to deliver, with retail customers now exceeding 600,000.
Hiscox London Market continues to grow profitably, benefiting from new teams in complementary specialty lines.
Hiscox Re performing well with Kiskadee Investment Managers' AUM on track to reach US$1 billion in 2016 after its second year of operation.
A second interim dividend of 32.0p per share comprised of a special dividend of 16.0p and a final dividend equivalent of 16.0p, bringing the year's total distribution to 40.0p. Going forward the Group will retain a greater proportion of earnings to fund the growth opportunities we see.
Bronek Masojada, Chief Executive of Hiscox Ltd, commented:
"Our strategy continues to deliver good growth with our retail businesses contributing 50% of income. We have established profitable operations in everything from direct-to-consumer small business insurance to ILS fund management. This diversity sets us apart and gives us options."
Dividend and capital
The Board has declared a second interim dividend of 32.0p per share (to be paid on 7 April 2016 to shareholders on the register at 11 March 2016), which comprises a final dividend equivalent of 16.0p per share (2014: 15.0p), taking the total ordinary dividend per share for the year to 24.0p, an increase of 1.5p (2014: 22.5p) and; an additional return of capital of 16.0p per share (2014: 45.0p). On this occasion the Directors have decided not to offer a scrip alternative.
This is the fourth successive year we have been able to return additional capital to shareholders. As previously communicated to the market however, returning capital to shareholders is not a long-term strategy and going forward the focus will be on pursuing opportunities for profitable growth. The Group continues to maintain a progressive core dividend policy.
In 2015 we raised £275 million via a subordinated debt issue. As Tier 2 capital it will support our ratings and also give us capital flexibility underpinning our 2016 business plans and beyond. As an inaugural issue it was competitively priced and the support was flattering.