What are the changes?
- We will no longer be accepting standalone new business.
- We will no longer be accepting standalone crime for new business and renewals.
- Minimum excesses increased on EPL to £7,500, or £5,000 where the turnover is £1,000,000 or below.
- There will be limited appetite for US exposures.
- We will be removing our new business rates and pre-priced proposal form from circulation.
- There will be an increase to renewal rates, typically circa 20%.
Construction, accountants and insurance brokers professional indemnity sectors
- There will be no new business limits over £3,000,000.
- We will review all existing limits over £3,000,000.
- Continuing renewals premiums to be increased by up to 20%.
- Larger renewals will look to be re-rated.
All other professional indemnity sectors
- We are adding communicable disease restrictions to our medical malpractice and health and safety policies.
- Medical malpractice premiums will be increased by 5%.
- Estate agents premiums will be increased by up to 20% with restricted appetite for commercial exposures.
Questions & Answers
Why are you making changes to the PSC lines of business?
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had an impact on all parts of the UK and all types of insurance policies that we underwrite. This has the potential to bring new exposure to some of our products and sectors that we would not normally expect to see.
In addition, an economic downturn both globally and within the UK is now a certainty. The Bank of England commented in May that Britain’s economy could be on course to shrink by 25% in the three months to June, and that unemployment could more than double to 9% of the workforce. It is likely this will be a far more significant economic downturn than would normally be expected.
We are committed to writing the products in the sectors that we operate for the long term. In order to keep doing this, we need to make some pricing and appetite changes due to the significant events going on around us.
How will Hiscox manage their underwriting during this time?
Our aim is to make small, incremental changes on a regular basis to avoid the need for more significant reactive changes as markets move. By making changes now, we believe it will allow us to avoid any more significant actions at a later point in time.
What are the changes?
We are increasing some of our prices for the lines of business that are most exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19) and an economic downturn. This has the most impact on our construction, accountants and insurance broker sectors of our professional indemnity product and Management Liability Portfolio (MLP) lines of business. Alongside this, as we are facing unpredictable exposures we will be managing our line sizes, therefore we will only be writing limits above £3 million on these PI in exceptional circumstances.
On MLP, our focus will be writing these covers alongside other lines of business; for example property, liability or Professional Indemnity. We will not be writing any new business on a standalone basis for the foreseeable future, outside of any specific schemes and facilities we are already committed to.
Why are you pausing standalone new business on MLP?
We know our customers well where we write MLP alongside professional indemnity, property and liability.
Being able to offer a wide package of covers for these customers is important to us and we want to continue operating in this way. We are committed to writing this product for the long term and throughout the financial cycle, that is why we want to honour as many renewals as we can. The expectation is that we will begin to write standalone new business again in the medium term.
Is this a step towards moving away from any lines of business?
We want to continue to provide excellent coverage for all our clients and for all the products that we do at the moment. Taking action now, will help to secure our foothold in these lines of business for many years to come.
Will you be changing renewal prices for policies that have only been written for one year?
Yes, we treat all our customers consistently, regardless of whether they have been with us for one year or ten years.
Will these be all the changes that you are looking to make?
We continually review risk selection, pricing and underwriting across all products. Over the coming months we will be closely monitoring the external environment to determine how these changes affect our business. If necessary, we will adapt but we aren’t expecting further significant changes at the moment.
Do you still want to be sent new business?
We are still open for new business. Our underwriters are eager to write business in our core lines of business: technology, media and professionals. We will continue to empower our underwriters to make intelligent decisions on a case-by-case basis whether it is a new or existing opportunity so we can continue to provide excellent service alongside specialist knowledge.
For more information on these changes, please speak to your local Hiscox underwriter.