Hiscox Ltd. said Chief Underwriting Officer Robert Childs will succeed Robert Hiscox as chairman of the second-biggest Lloyd’s of London insurer by market value.
Childs, 61, who has worked at the insurer since at least 1986, will take over as chairman once Hiscox retires in February, the Hamilton, Bermuda-based firm said today in a statement. Investors holding about 30 percent of the firm’s shares supported the decision, Hiscox said.
Robert Hiscox, 69, announced earlier this year his retirement from the firm, which he has led since his father died in 1970. Hiscox built the insurer from an underwriting partnership to a global insurer with 28 offices in 11 countries. He helped save Lloyd’s of London from collapse in the early 1990s by bringing in capital from money managers, replacing a 300-year tradition of investment from private individuals.
“Given that the number one risk is insurance, we thought having somebody who has a deep knowledge of the risks in the business would in the long-run be of greater value,” Chief Executive Officer Bronek Masojada said in a telephone interview. “Poor strategy will slowly destroy a company. What will destroy it rapidly is poor underwriting.”
Hiscox swung to a pretax profit of 125.8 million pounds ($198 million) in the first half from a loss of 85.6 million pounds in the year-earlier period, when the industry suffered from payouts related to natural disasters. Analysts had predicted a profit of 109.1 million pounds, according to the average of 11 estimates surveyed by the insurer.
The stock rose 0.7 percent to 441 pence at 9:06 a.m. in London trading, the highest on record, valuing the company at about 1.7 billion pounds.
The firm increased its first-half dividend 18 percent to 6 pence a share, above the analysts’ estimate of 5.42 pence.