Hiscox Ltd is a specialist insurance provider, listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Founded in 1901, Hiscox has a long history in underwriting and recently relocated its headquarters from London to Bermuda. Hiscox claims millions in R&D tax relief under the RDEC scheme every year, in part down to the technical project justifications completed by Ayming. Working with the Hiscox team over several years, Ayming has delivered consistent, comprehensive technical reports, while Hiscox manages the financial report and claim submission to HMRC.
Ayming has added a great deal of value over the years, strengthening our claim by building in depth to our project write ups and descriptions. Ayming staff speak all the correct languages – both tax and IT – and they have detailed conversations with our in-house technical teams. They also have external industry knowledge which helps us to understand how innovative our solutions are in a wider context.”
Richard Baxter, IT Finance Manager, Hiscox
To ensure the team at Hiscox receives the maximum value from Ayming’s expertise, and that the report is of the highest quality, Ayming follows a rigorous and comprehensive delivery process including quality assurance and reviews at each stage.
Ayming starts the technical interviews with the Hiscox team at the beginning of each year. As with most financial services businesses, the majority of Hiscox’s innovative projects focus on technology and software development. Technologies such as Cloud Computing and Distributed Computing can be used by banks and insurers to solve issues surrounding privacy, security and economies of scale.
To understand exactly where the innovation can be found in each project, Ayming’s team consists of both tax-qualified consultants with extensive experience in R&D tax legislation and software engineers. It’s this mix of tax and technical staff which allows Ayming to identify, and justify, innovation within Hiscox’s projects.
Ayming conducts technical discussions and interviews with Hiscox’s technical team, and explains the meaning of R&D for tax purposes, in order to gain an in-depth understanding of the nature of the work undertaken by Hiscox’s experts. This understanding streamlines the report writing process, and optimises the value of the claim.
HMRC defines ‘competent professional’ as an expert working within the field of science or technology in which the advance is being sought.
In total, we speak to between 10 and 15 competent professionals at Hiscox each year to help define R&D within their projects. To ensure there is minimal disruption to the team’s day-to-day activity, we typically spend just two days in Hiscox’s offices to collect all of the technical information, and follow up with clarifications over the phone.
The team at Hiscox is especially helpful, and has an internal Project Manager to help organise meetings and diaries in advance. This helps keep the process tight, maximising the benefit for Hiscox of working with an external provider
It’s important to understand that Ayming’s key strength is bringing us peace of mind. I have faith that the analysis Ayming provides gives me strong guidance on where to focus our claim and how to avoid a weak claim.
Ayming builds a good rapport with us and the IT staff they interact with and are always available to give advice and feedback, in particular by adapting their service level to our requirements.”
Completing the report and QA
On average we complete around 10 project write-ups every year, classifying Hiscox’s projects into three broad categories: Strong, Moderate, and No R&D. With the write-ups prepared they are submitted to the competent professionals for amendments, queries and approval, before being formalised into a final report and submitted to Hiscox’s key stakeholders.
Ayming’s internal processes mean that at each stage of our project delivery there is quality assurance and review. This helps to ensure that deliverables are achieved on time, within budget, and to a high standard. Working to a strict and coherent process we’re able to deliver maximum value to the Hiscox team.
For more information on Ayming’s R&D incentives service get in touch today: