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(Reuters) — Hiscox Ltd. reported higher gross written premiums for the first quarter of 2019 as the Lloyd’s of London insurer saw rates improving in the London market, although it said the region was hit by higher frequency of property losses.
The FTSE 100 insurer, which underwrites a range of risks including fine art, vintage cars, and kidnap and ransom, said gross written premiums on a constant currency basis rose 3.3% to $1.16 billion for the quarter ended March 31.
The robust results come after Hiscox reported higher profit and written premiums for 2018 as the industry got some relief following record insurance losses in 2017 from hurricanes, typhoons and wildfires.
The underwriter, part of the oldest insurance market in the world, said rates rose 4% in the London market since the year started, adding most significant rises were seen in cargo, marine hull and U.S. public company directors and officers liability insurance.
Insurance premiums, pressured by tough competition, are now rising after the industry faced record bills from hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfire of over $135 billion in 2017.
Hiscox, which has over 3,300 staff across 14 countries and 34 offices, said gross written premiums in its London business climbed 5.3% in constant currency to $228.6 million.
Smaller rival Lancashire last week reported a small rise in quarterly gross written premiums as it paid out fewer claims and benefited from a pickup in insurance prices.
Bronek Masojada joined Hiscox Ltd. in 1993 as group managing director and became CEO in 2000. He served as a deputy chairman of Lloyd’s of London from 2001 to 2007 and was chairman of the Lloyd’s Tercentenary Research Foundation from 2008 to 2014. Mr. Masojada recently spoke to Business Insurance Reporter Matthew Lerner about the market, mergers, technology and other topics. Edited excerpts follow.