The Hiscox Board has declared a final dividend of 29.6¢ per share to be paid on 10 June 2020 to shareholders registered on 15 May 2020 taking the total ordinary dividend per share for the year to 43.35¢ (2018: 41.85¢). The dividends will be paid in Sterling unless shareholders elect to be paid in US Dollars. The foreign exchange rate at which future dividends declared in US Dollars will be calculated is based on the average exchange rate in the five business days prior to the scrip dividend price being determined. On this occasion, the period will be between 26 May 2020 to 1 June 2020 inclusive.
Other financial highlights include:
Gross premiums written up by 8.1% in constant currency, despite disciplined action to reduce $200 million in underperforming lines.
Group profits were impacted by large catastrophe events, with $165 million reserved for Hurricane Dorian and Typhoons Faxai and Hagibis, in addition to $25 million of reduced fees and profit commissions.
Hiscox Retail now a $2.2 billion business with profits increased by 22% to $178.4 million. Combined ratio of 98.7%, in line with guidance of between 97-99% for 2019.
‒ Hiscox UK and Hiscox Europe generated good profits, driven by a strong performance in small business insurance.
‒ Hiscox USA is profitable, with action taken to improve performance in D&O and media business progressing as planned.
‒ 180,000 Retail customers added in 2019, taking the total to 1.2 million globally - including more than 450,000 direct and partnerships customers. Growth in Retail expected to be in the middle of the 5-15% target range for 2020.
‒ Retail combined ratio to improve by 1-2% per annum and return to 90-95% target range in 2022.
Hiscox London Market impacted by catastrophes and property claims, but market conditions continue to improve. Hiscox Syndicate 33 increased its capacity by 19% to make the most of any opportunities for profitable growth in 2020 as rates rise for the third successive year, up in 14 out of 15 lines.
Hiscox Re & ILS impacted by natural catastrophes, market-wide adverse development on prior year catastrophes, as well as deterioration in some previously exited lines.
Strong investment return of $223.0 million (2018: $38.1 million).
Robust reserves 9.4% above actuarial estimate, with continued positive development in Retail. Reserve releases expected to be between 3-5% of opening net reserves in 2020.