Belgian-insurer Ageas has faced its fair share of troubles on UK turf in recent years – from problems with its Kwik-Fit insurance brand to difficulties relating to the Ogden rate. Now, however, it appears to be fighting back – at least if its interim financial results, released this morning, are anything to go by.
The company saw its combined operating ratio recover from last year’s 105.6% on the back of the Ogden spike, to 99.0% this time around. Its motor market performance was particularly pleasing even though the softening of the market led to lower volumes than expected – its net earned premiums in the segment dropped from £413.2 million to £378.4 million, but COR improved from 106.1% to 90.6% with its net underwriting results standing at £35.4 million compared to £25.3 million a year earlier.
Its household performance was, like that of many insurers, hit by bad weather – its combined operating ratio in that segment leaping from 99.7% to 116.1%. Net earned premiums slipped from £151.3 million to £140.7 million.
Overall, however, the outlook was still good as the firm racked up a three-fold leap in profit, at €31 million.
“We have posted a good performance with signs of further improvement,” said Andy Watson, CEO of Ageas UK. “Our motor book is performing especially well, and we are making encouraging progress within specific SME segments.”
While describing the market as “unpredictable” and motor as being “especially soft”, Watson has high hopes for the division.
“We were delighted to launch Ageas motor insurance direct to customers in May to sit alongside our household offer,” he said. “Good progress is being made and we look forward to broadening what we provide, both from our website and through the aggregators.”