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Insurer Hiscox faces huge payouts due to natural disasters

Earthquakes, storms, floods and snow lead to over £115 million in insurance claims

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Hiscox estimates that it will pay out over £115 million in claims as a result of a series of natural disasters last year, the global insurer said on Wednesday.

The company said that it expects to pay out around £37 million alone for the New Zealand earthquake, which hit the South Island last September. But costs are also mounting for the Chilean earthquake and Windstorm Xynthia, according to the insurer’s latest trading statement released on Wednesday.

The specialist insurer also estimated the cost of the UK winter freeze at up to £16 million, a sum which is in addition to similar claims in the previous January.

The company said that its position regarding the severe flooding in Australia was still evolving.

London renewal rates in January were down by an average of 1.5 percent, while renewal rates in Bermuda were down by around 7.5 percent. The company forecast continuing falling rates but said that it would mitigate these by actively managing their book.

Its investment return for 2010 is at around 3.6 percent with a portfolio value of around £2.8 billion, the insurer calculated.

Hiscox is due to announce preliminary results for the year ending December 2010 on 28 February.

Shares gained slightly with a 0.74 percent increase at 09:00 on Wednesday.

Windstorm Xynthia swept through several European countries at the end of February last year, killing several people in France, Germany and Spain, with several other countries being affected including the UK.


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