Beazley plc which trades at Lloyd's through five syndicates including 623, 5623 and 6107 has this week followed Hiscox’s lead in raising further equity to support its underwriting and operations.

The company raised approximately $300m (£247m) representing about 15% of the previously issued share capital.  Commenting on the rationale for the raise, Beazley idenfitifed an attractive rating environment with the first quarter of 2020 being “particularly encouraging, with an average rate increase of eight per cent., with three divisions achieving double digit increases.  This strong momentum is expected to continue. Certain markets, such as property and marine, have now experienced two consecutive years of rising rates and present attractive near term opportunities”.

Hiscox gave very similar reasons for their equity raise earlier in the month.  Taken together these moves confirm the widespread feeling that the market is moving into much harder territory – although there is much debate about what constitutes an actual ‘hard market’.  Nevertheless, the mood amongst underwriters and managing agents as they continue to trade from home is very bullish.  Iindications suggest that the key Florida reinsurance renewals on 1st June and 1st July will add further credence to the hardening of the market.