Monday 08 April 2024 - Company news

The 1990’s – a decade of growth

The 90s brought us some of the most influential sitcom’s TV has ever seen, grunge fashion, and a seemingly unlimited string of boy bands. The sporting world was thriving, and as Michael Jordan was building the Chicago Bulls dynasty, we continued to build a dream team of our own.

50 years

In an era of change, HCC excelled

The emergence of new technology demanded corporate and societal change. With the introduction of the Nokia 1011, MP3 players and the Game Boy Color, by the end of the decade we were accustomed to new technologies constantly being released.

Insurers jumped at the chance to test out the latest and greatest in modern computing and embraced a new era of innovation. Following Hurricane Andrew and the Northridge earthquake, catastrophe bonds were developed to help protect against natural disasters, something that was only made possible through modern technology. Elsewhere, momentum was growing throughout the late 1990s to give insurers an opportunity to sell directly to consumers.

Despite this era of rapid innovation and technological successes, the industry still faced significant challenges. In the early 90s, the London market was in turmoil. Lloyds of London started the decade with the steepest losses in its history at £4.5 billion, and faced increasing legal action from its members, many of which would eventually go on to declare bankruptcy. The U.S. industry felt the impact of successive costly disasters, and unexpectedly large legal awards for damages led to substantial asbestos claims.

HCC continued to build on its championship philosophy. 

Almost 20 years after we’d opened our doors, we celebrated our first public offering of HCC stock in 1992. By 1996, we were ready to enter the big leagues and switched our listing to the New York Stock Exchange.

The following year, we achieved an A+ rating, which today stands at A++, from AM Best. This quick succession of important milestones set the tone for the decades to come. 

As the 2000’s approached, HCC ramped up its growth through acquisitions

Between 1996 and 1997, we made strategic acquisitions that helped to deepen and support our underwriting capabilities. The majority of these were specialty aviation risk businesses, such as Avemco Insurance Company, which continues to operate as a strong aviation insurer.

This activity was closely followed by another of our major milestones with the acquisition of The Centris Group in 1999. This laid the groundwork for what would become our medical Stop Loss Group, which is now the 6th largest player in the U.S. by market share.

Entering the 2000’s in better shape than ever

As the world celebrated the new millennium, we stood tall following one of our strongest decades of growth.

Throughout the 90’s, we dramatically grew our underwriting capabilities through acquisitions and technological innovations which allowed our business to adapt to meet ever-evolving business needs. We left the 80s writing gross premiums (GWP) of $45 million. Just over a decade later, we entered the 2000s writing just under a billion GWP – setting our trajectory for the years to come.

This may be where HCC’s story ends in the 20th century, but successes continued into the 21st century. Stay tuned to hear all about how we tackled the challenges and opportunities of the new millennium!

You can find more about our 50th Anniversary celebrations here or read our previous blog post here.