Q&A: Bronek Masojada, Hiscox Ltd.Reprints
Bronek Masojada has been chief executive of Hamilton, Bermuda-based Hiscox Ltd. since 2000. Mr. Masojada joined Hiscox in 1993, after a stint at management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. In addition, he served as a deputy chairman of Lloyd's of London. He recently spoke with Business Insurance Senior Editor Mark A. Hofmann about Hiscox's plans, the state of the commercial property/casualty insurance market and the concerns of the underwriter's clients. Edited excerpts follow.
Q: Where does Hiscox see growth opportunities in the next year?
A: Hiscox is two parts — one out of Lloyd's (of London) and Bermuda, and retail business in the United States, the U.K. and Europe. Given the market conditions, we see opportunities in the United States in our professional lines and in our small business proposition, which we do direct and with partners.
In the U.K. and Europe, the primary focus is on small commercial and high-net-worth accounts. We expect more competitive conditions in Lloyd's and Bermuda in reinsurance and big-ticket business.
Q: Do you expect current property/casualty market conditions to continue in 2016?
A: Yes. We are in a flat to softening trend, and given the absence of large natural catastrophe losses, we don't see that changing. There's a lot of capital. Our assumption is when we talk about the market, we mean the whole market, property and casualty.
Q: Hiscox recently opened an office in Dallas. What made the area attractive to Hiscox, which already has a presence in Atlanta?
A: Texas is huge economy, not-withstanding the troubles in the oil patch. When you're building a business, you can't be too distracted by the short term ups and downs. It's sort of a natural evolution to go from east to west and north to south.
Q: What are your customers' biggest concerns?
A: Am I going to get sued? Is my building going to burn down? Customer concern in cyber is going up. We have launched a new cyber coverage here in the United States.
We're the leader in insuring against terrorism. We have more capacity available, but it is an existing product.
We recently announced that we have enhanced our stand-alone terrorism portfolio, adding new products to cover property damage due to malicious attacks utilizing nuclear, chemical, biological and radiological devices. There's no doubt that the world is a more tense place now after events such as the recent attacks in Paris, and there's no doubt there's more interest in the product.
Q: What emerging risks is Hiscox targeting?
A: We service effectively all folks in white-collar firms.
We just carry on doing that with good products and a continued focus on good service.
Q: Do you expect the unusual level of merger and acquisition activity of 2015 continuing into 2016, and what does it mean for insurance buyers?
A: I read in the newspapers that analysts and bankers think the M&A trend will continue, and why wouldn't they? That's what they get paid for.
There's a lot of focus on the customer, and as more M&A activity continues, that creates opportunities for smaller firms like Hiscox.
Q: Where do you see Hiscox five years from now?
A: We will continue to grow from a small business.
Our revenues reached $450 million in the United States. Our goal is to double that in the next five years.