Hiscox hit by 92% fall in profits

The Lloyd's of London firm Hiscox has announced profits of £17.3m, compared with £211.4m last time, a fall of 92 per cent. But in a sign of how tough the market for catastrophe insurers has been recently, Hiscox described the fall in profit as a "good result".

Robert Hiscox, the chairman, said: "We have been well and truly tested by Mother Nature and a small profit is a good result in the circumstances.

"By any measurement, it was a phenomenally catastrophic year with definitely more economic damage caused by natural catastrophes than ever before, including in the second half of the year the major international loss from the Bangkok floods."

Hiscox has set aside $20m (£13m) for the sinking of the Costa Concordia cruise liner, left.

Mr Hiscox is to stand down from the board in 2013, after he turns 70. He will become honorary president after 47 years with the firm.

The insurer, which is based in Hamilton, Bermuda, said in a statement that it was searching for a replacement for Mr Hiscox, 69, who has led the company since his father died. He will retain an advisory role after retiring from the main board.