GLOBAL insurance firm Hiscox has announced pre-tax profits of £244.5 million ahead of starting construction on its new £19 million offices in York.

The company announced its 2013 financial results yesterday, with a rise in profits from £217.5 million in 2012.

Gross written premiums grew by 8.5 per cent in the year from £1,565.8 million to £1,699.5 million.

The Bermuda-based business saw its Hiscox London Market division record a drop in profit from £121.9 million to £116 million.

However, Hiscox UK saw a rise from £45.2 million profit in 2012 to £45.4 million, while profits at Hiscox Europe rose to a record £10.9 million from £3.9 million.

The results come as Hiscox prepares to build a new £19 million flagship office in Hungate, ultimately bringing 500 jobs to the city.

Bronek Masojada, chief executive of Hiscox Ltd, said: “Our long term strategy of building local retail businesses in Europe, the UK, Guernsey and the US to balance internationally traded business in London and Bermuda continues to deliver.

“We are excited about the opportunities we see in many retail markets where we have room to grow profitably. In our big ticket areas, discipline and opportunism will guide us.”