Allianz's Colm Holmes on H1 results, inflation trends and broker partnerships

"For me, the broker market in the UK is the best in the world, bar none"

Allianz's Colm Holmes on H1 results, inflation trends and broker partnerships

Insurance News

By Mia Wallace

Earlier today the international insurance giant Allianz shared its financial results for H1 2023, revealing that its operating profit soared 14.9% to €7.5 billion during the six-month period. Now it’s the turn of Allianz Group in the UK to reveal how it fared in a period remarked on by Allianz SE’s CEO Oliver Bate as one of “inflation and polarisation”.

Speaking with Insurance Business, Allianz Holdings CEO Colm Holmes (pictured) spotlighted the business’s revenue of £3.28 billion – which is up 12.6% year-on-year and reflects “incredibly strong growth” across all areas of the business. Revenue for Allianz Holdings is up 7.1% year-on-year to approx. £2.1 billion, while Allianz Commercial (formerly Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) UK) is up 22.5% to £841.6 million. Meanwhile, Allianz Trade increased its revenue by 22.2% to £131.8 million while Allianz Partners saw a spike of 31.1% to £211 million.

Allianz Holdings’ H1 2023 growth


H1 2023

H1 2022


Gross Written Premium (GWP)




Personal lines GWP




Specialty lines GWP




Commercial lines GWP




Operating Profit




COR - discounted





“Within the 7.1% growth we saw in Allianz Holdings, we saw strong growth in some of our key segments, in commercial property and our casualty and engineering portfolios,” Holmes said. “We saw similarly strong performance from our personal lines specialty business, particularly our Petplan business. These were somewhat offset by a more broadly flat position in those lines impacted most by inflation – personal motor, personal home and commercial motor.

“Despite this and the impacts of inflation on those lines of business, operating profit was down just 5% and delivered a COR of 96.6% for the half year. And that was again driven by very strong delivery in commercial property, casualty and engineering and also strong delivery in pet.”

Allianz is continuing to focus on delivering rate into inflation-hit classes in 2023 to counter its effects, Holmes said, but while comfortable with the level of rate it’s putting in, the business acknowledges that it will take time to see that earn through. With that in mind, the expectation is that it will see strong performance in the second half of 2023 and particularly into 2024.

“We do continue to see stubbornly high inflation in these segments,” he said. “For the first half of this year in personal motor, inflation is running at about 11%. In property it’s running at about 16% and in commercial motor fleet, we've seen inflation at around 10%. And that's the underlying inflation problem, but it's exacerbated by labour shortages, rising repair costs, and continued supply chain disruption.”

While Allianz can’t control inflation, he said, it can control its reaction to it which is the thought process behind all the actions it is taking around rate. The cost-of-living crisis customers are still going through, despite signs this is levelling off, means insurers have to be very mindful of the impact of their pricing. With that in mind, the business is always looking to minimise the rate increases that feed through to its customers.

“While in the first half of this year, home rates increased by close to 16%, motor rates by 32% and fleet by 12%, what we're not looking to do is just add rate to deliver excess margin,” he said. “Rather, we want to maintain our position and our loyalty with our customers, while ensuring that we can deliver a return for the shareholder.”

Allianz has undertaken a number of proactive steps to enable this, he said, including aggressively managing expenses and generating operational and delivery efficiencies. These actions have reduced Allianz’s costs and allowed it to minimise the amount of rate it has to put through. Holmes said he’s pleased that while the insurer has had to take action around rate, its approach has meant this hasn’t had a significant impact in terms of customer numbers over the period.

It has been a busy half-year for the insurer which announced the launch of the newly created Allianz Commercial business, bringing together AGCS UK and Allianz Holding’s UK Commercial business. The restructured business has already performed strongly, Holmes said, delivering growth with GWP up 13.6% to £1.57 billion and eliciting an “incredibly strong reaction” from the market and Allianz’s broker partners.

What brokers particularly like about the idea of a “one Allianz” solution is that they now have a single strategic relationship across Allianz. This “one-stop-shop” approach allows Allianz to be much more focused on their needs, he said, moving away from the product-orientated approach of previous times to focus on building propositions and customer solutions. And the reaction to date bodes very well for the future as Allianz starts to launch new products, new propositions and new solutions to the broker community.

Holmes highlighted that despite the inflationary environment and the work going into restructuring Allianz’s proposition, the business remains constantly focused on the impact of any decisions it makes on its brokers and customers. This is reflected in the consistently high customer and broker satisfaction feedback from Allianz’s benchmarking research, he said, with the insurer retaining its market-leading position across the board in the mid-market space.

“Brokers are still the key partners in our business,” he said. “They are what makes our business tick. We're very committed to the broker channel in our personal lines and in our commercial lines business, and we want to continue to develop market solutions with them. I've always said that businesses work best when we work hand in hand with our broker partners.

“We constantly listen to them, we ask them what the right answer is, and we work with them to deliver the right solutions. For me, the broker market in the UK is the best in the world, bar none. And because of the strong relationships we have with them, we get the balance, right, we're very conscious of their businesses and our businesses working hand in hand, in tandem. And we'll continue to do that.”

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