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Hiscox selects Luxembourg as European hub

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Bermuda-based insurer Hiscox Ltd. said Tuesday that it will establish a new European subsidiary in Luxembourg in response to the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union.

The announcement, included in Hiscox’s interim management statement, said the insurer’s retail business in the E.U. will be written through this new subsidiary. Hiscox said its existing European business comprises more than 350 people in seven E.U. countries.

“Luxembourg was selected for its pro-business position, strong financial services experience and well-respected regulator, and is close to many of our major markets,” Hiscox said in a statement.

Hiscox said it will recruit a team in Luxembourg that will cover core functions such as compliance, risk and internal audit. The company said it expected to complete the restructuring well in advance of March 2019 “in order to ensure a seamless transition for our customers, brokers and business partners.”

Last year, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union and the country is on course to leave the E.U. by April 2019.

Meanwhile, Hiscox said that for the first three months of the year, gross written premium grew by 17.3% to £751.2 million ($972.4 million), driven by a strong performance from its retail insurance business in the U.K. and Ireland, Continental Europe and the United States.

It’s London market operations continue to face challenging conditions, Bronek Masojada, Group CEO, said in a statement. “We remain disciplined and are carefully navigating our way forward,” he said.

So far this year, Hiscox said, there has been no improvement in the rating environment in big-ticket business, where a continuation of a lack of major loss events, excess capital and strong competition continues to put pressure on rates.

In the London Market, insurers are seeing double-digit declines in the marine, energy and U.S. large property accounts, the Hiscox statement said.

Hiscox USA continues on a strong trajectory, the insurer said, growing gross written premium by 33.5% in constant currency to $164 million.

“Our broker channel business and direct and partnerships division have both performed well,” Hiscox said in a statement, “with key contributors being professions, cyber and our newly-established general liability line.”