(Reuters) — Hiscox is committed to a planned insurance consortium providing cover for ships traveling through safe passage from Ukraine, its chief executive said on Wednesday, as insurance shares in Lloyd’s of London fell with a first-half loss.
The first grain-carrying ship to leave wartime Ukrainian ports, following a deal brokered by Ankara and the United Nations, anchored safely off the coast of Turkey on Tuesday and is due for inspection on Wednesday.
Trade body Lloyd’s Market Association said last month that a consortium could be formed to provide cover for grain transport.
The consortium had not yet been finalized, Hiscox CEO Aki Hussain told Reuters by phone.
“We are committed to supporting Lloyd̵7;s market-led initiatives,” he said.
Lloyds insurer Ascot and broker Marsh have already launched a separate facility to provide up to $50 million in cover for grain shipments from Ukraine.
Hiscox, one of the biggest players in the Lloyd’s commercial insurance market, had insured some ships stuck in Ukrainian ports but so far had not received any claims, Hussain said.
Hiscox said its losses from Ukraine and Russia were $48 million net of reinsurance, up slightly from an estimate of $40 million made in May.
The insurer’s shares fell 7.6%, making it the worst performer in the FTSE mid-cap index, after it reported a pre-tax loss of $107m in the first half due to a sharp decline in the value of its investment portfolio .
Hiscox reported a profit of $133 million in the first half of 2021.
Hiscox recorded an investment loss of $214 million, compared with a profit of $62 million in the same period last year, it said in a trading statement.
However, the insurer’s underwriting performance was strong. It reported a combined ratio – a key measure of insurance profitability – of 91.3%, compared with 93.1% the previous year. A level below 100% indicates profit.
Hiscox had raised premiums by around 8% in the London commercial insurance market, 13% in reinsurance and 6% to 7% in its retail business, Hussain said.
KBW analysts described the results as a “mixed bag”, but reiterated their “market perform” rating on the stock.