- Hiscox reported Monday annual pre-tax profit tripled as its London market business returned to growth for the first time in three years following the company's decision to move away from poor-performing lines.

For the 12 months to 31 December, profit before tax rose to $137.4m from $39.7m with a 'strong' underwriting result of $148.0m, up from $43.0m last year the company said.

Gross premiums written increased 15% to $3.78bn, led by the London market business, which saw gross premiums written increase by 17.1% to $877.7m and swung to a profit of $78.2m from a loss of $46.7m last year.

'The standout performer in 2018 was Hiscox London market which returned to growth and profit after three years of tough action; withdrawing from poor-performing lines and navigating challenging markets,' the company said.

Hiscox retail delivered profits of $136.0m, down from $141.6m, and the combined ratio of 93.6%. For the next 12 months, Hiscox retail was expected generate growth in in the high single digits for the next 12 months, the company said.

Hiscox Re & ILS gross premiums written grew 15.9% to $812.0m.

For 2019, the company expected to grow premiums at a slightly slower pace than 2018.

'We have generated strong growth and good profits in a busy year for claims. The tough action we took in our London Market business is paying off, and we are seeing some positive momentum in big-ticket lines, where rates, terms and conditions are improving. We are growing well in our chosen retail segments, and our small market shares mean the size of the opportunity in retail remains immense,' said Bronek Masojada, Chief Executive of Hiscox. At 4:07pm: [LON:HSX] Hiscox Ltd share price was +40.5p at 1634.5p

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