Investor Alert

Aug. 3, 2020, 2:30 a.m. EDT

Hiscox swings to loss after rise in reserves

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By Sabela Ojea

Hiscox Ltd. reported Monday a swing to a pretax loss for the first half of 2020 and said that it looks ahead to the second half with confidence and optimism despite booking $232 million in reserves for Covid-19 related claims.

The FTSE 250-listed specialist insurer said these reserves include the already-announced $150 million for event cancellations and abandonment, media and entertainment and other segments including travel falling with the segment.

The insurer posted a pretax loss for the first six months of the year of $138.9 million compared with a profit of $168.0 million for the year-earlier period.

Hiscox's gross premiums written fell 4.3% to $2.24 billion, with the company achieving net premiums written of $1.41 billion, down from $1.47 billion in the first half of 2019.

Its combined ratio, the proportion of revenue eaten up by costs, stood at 114.6%, up from 98.8%. A ratio below 100% indicates underwriting profitability.

"We are well diversified, with opportunities for profitable growth across all of our three divisions," Chairman Robert Childs said.

Write to Sabela Ojea at sabela.ojea@wsj.com; @sabelaojeaguix

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