No Reining In Hiscox, Firm Supports Equestrian

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By Caroline McDonald

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NU Online News Service, Dec. 19, 3:32 p.m.EST?Specialist insurer Hiscox does more than horse aroundwith bloodstock coverage. The underwriter said its mane interestwill see it continue to sponsor dressage rider and 2004 Olympichopeful, Richard Davison.[@@]

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The announcement of sponsorship for Mr. Davison, the currentBritish National Dressage Champion was made at the OlympiaInternational Show Jumping Championships where he wascompeting.

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Julian Lloyd, lead bloodstock underwriter at Hiscox, in London,England, told National Underwriter that the sponsorship"keeps us pretty closely in touch with the people and the changesin the industry; the movement of horses?who's buying, who'sselling."

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As an insurer this information is "nice to know, especially whenyou're dealing with an industry where very little is written downin hard fact. It's all about opinions and hopes, really." Thesponsorship also "lets people get to know us, as well," hesaid.

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Mr. Lloyd acknowledged that it is also enjoyable, although, hesaid, "I'd hate for other people to think that we actually had funat work."

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He said Hiscox has sponsored Mr. Davison for more than sixyears. "We've actually been one of the few fairly long-termsponsors in the equine business in this country," he said. "Wesponsored him through one Olympic and hopefully through anotherone."

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As a member of the European Bronze Medal team at the 2003European Championships, Mr. Davison recently qualified for the 2004British Olympic Dressage team.

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Mr. Lloyd described dressage as a "living art form." Thedressage horse does a series of athletic movements on apredetermined course in an arena, he explained. The horses walk,trot, canter, and do a "flying change"?where the horse changes fromone lead to the next and back. "It's almost like watching itskipping," he said.

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Mr. Lloyd explained that traditionally the great dressagemasters in continental Europe were the great cavalry instructors.He said that many of the movements were based on cavalrymovements.

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Dressage horses do not jump, he said, "They are far tooprecious." The horses that do tend to jump, are mentally "more liketruckers," he joked.

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Britton is "improving its dressage, but it's not quite up to thelevel the Germans have gotten it up to," he said.

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The sport goes back hundreds of years, "but if you think aboutGermany, it's a landlocked nation which has relied on cavalry forcenturies. And dressage basically had it's beginnings in thecavalry. England, being an island, had a navy instead," heexplained.

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Mr. Lloyd said that the equine line is small by comparison tothe rest of the company's business, but "it's actually quite animportant line."

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Many of the people who own horses also own "large expensivehouses and large art collections, which are all other areas ofspecialty of this business," he said.

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He added that, "This exposes us to the high net-worth people whowe have a specialty division to insure."

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As well as supporting Mr. Davison, the specialist insurer alsowill be working behind the scenes with ground transportation toensure the best and safest transport once the horses arrive inGreece for next summer's Olympic Games, according to Hiscox.

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