Insurer Hiscox says well-placed to absorb Sandy hit

LONDON Mon Nov 5, 2012 7:27am GMT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Bermuda-based insurer and reinsurer Hiscox (HSX.L) on Monday said it was well-placed to absorb any financial hit from superstorm Sandy thanks to a comparative absence of catastrophe claims during the first nine months of the year.

"Until superstorm Sandy hit last week it had been a relatively quiet year for Hiscox, which puts us in a good position to absorb any losses," Chief Executive Bronek Masojada said in a statement.

Sandy caused insured losses of up to $20 billion when it struck the north-eastern United States last week, according to early estimates, making it potentially the United States' fourth-costliest natural catastrophe ever.

Hiscox did not provide an estimate of its exposure to Sandy.

The London-listed insurer had gross premiums of 1.2 billion pounds ($1.92 billion)in the nine months to September 30, an increase of 6.4 percent, it said.

Hiscox shares closed at 483 pence on Friday, valuing the company at about 1.9 billion pounds. The stock has risen 29 percent since the start of the year, outperforming an 18 percent rise in the FTSE non-life insurance index .FTASX8530.

($1 = 0.6235 British pounds)

(Reporting by Myles Neligan; editing by Sinead Cruise)

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