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Hiscox sets aside £34m for US storm, but less impact expected from Suez block

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August Graham
·2-min read
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Insurer Hiscox has set aside 47 million dollars (£34 million) for a winter storm that ripped through North America, but does not expect any material impact from the ship that blocked the Suez Canal for several days.

The company said its UK and European businesses were getting fewer claims from customers than was expected, but it is fighting a rise in claims for cyber attacks, especially in the US.

Across the group there has been an uptick in ransomware claims, Hiscox said, adding it is taking “proactive measures” in response to reduce its exposure to such attacks.

Gross written premiums rose 6.3% to 1.3 billion dollars (£940 million) to the end of March compared to a year ago.

Its growth was highest in London, at 9.3% to 303.9 million dollars (£219 million).

“The year has got off to a good start as rates continue to strengthen in all areas,” said chief executive Bronek Masojada.

“Our big-ticket businesses are benefiting from improved conditions and strong market positions. Our retail businesses continue to benefit from the shift to digital trading.”

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The business said that it has reserved 47 million dollars for storm Uri, which struck large parts of North America and left areas of Texas without power.

It said this figure was based on expected losses to industry of around 15 billion dollars (£10.8 billion).

However, it expects to see a lesser hit from two other major events from recent months: “The Australian floods and the Ever Given marine loss are not expected to be material events for the group.”

In January the Supreme Court decided that businesses that had been forced to close down due to the pandemic would be able to claim interruption insurance. Hiscox said it has contacted all customers with valid claims.

However, the process of getting payouts to claimants has been slower.

“Business interruption claims require detailed analysis of financial data for each policyholder from experienced loss adjusters, accountants and claims professionals in order to calculate an accurate claims settlement, and that process is well under way,” Hiscox said.

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