StockMarketWire.com - Insurer Hiscox said gross premiums rose 7% in the third quarter, though claims surged above budget for the second half of the year, owing to storms in the US, the Caribbean and Japan.

For the three months ended 30 September, gross written premiums grew by 7.3% in constant currency, to $3.2bn, led by growth in the Hiscox London Market amid improving conditions.

But the uptick in premiums came against a weaker backdrop for the industry, with the insurer warning that the market was experiencing 'significant' catastrophe losses from storms in the US, the Caribbean and Japan.

Based on an insured market loss of $8bn for Hurricane Dorian, $10bn for Typhoon Faxai, and $15bn for Typhoon Hagibis, Hiscox said it had reserved net $165m to cover claims resulting from the three events, which was materially in excess of the group's catastrophe budget for the second half.

The company was also exposed to the recent wildfires in California, but said that at this early stage the size of any potential loss was not yet clear.

'Due to the combined impact of increased claims activity and a cautious approach to reserve development, the group expects the full year combined ratio for Hiscox Retail to be between 97-99%,' the company said.

'The group continues to target a combined ratio range for Hiscox Retail between 90-95% over the medium term,' it added.

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