Hurricanes wiped out GBP165 million of pre-tax profit from Hiscox for 2005 but regional expansion helped make up for the losses, the specialist insurer said.

Preliminary results for the London-listed company includes a 22% drop in pre-tax profit of GBP70.2 million, down from GBP89.5 million in 2004. A series of global catastrophes has made 2005 the costliest for the insurance industry on record.

The company, which writes business through UK insurance market Lloyd’s of London as well as through offshore units in Bermuda and Guernsey, said in the report: Our past investment in regional expansion has helped the Group make a very satisfactory profit despite the many catastrophes in 2005.

The company has recommended a final dividend of 4.75 pence a share, making a total dividend for the year of 7 pence, an increase on last year’s 5 pence.