Strong growth in inflows

  • Non-Life Gross Written Premiums up 14.1% to GBP 703.9 million from same period last year 
  • New Annual Protection Premiums up 60% to GBP 16.3 million from same period last year 
  • Increase in total inflows for retail businesses of 31.6% to GBP 96.0 million from same period last year 

Continued improvement in profit and performance

  • Profit Before Tax of GBP 16.6 million improving quarter on quarter in 2010
  • Non-Life combined ratio improved to 102.0% in third quarter; 104.9% year to date; 106.5% at half year 2010; 110.2% during quarter one 

Strengthened retail capability

  • Income contribution of GBP 17.6 million from Kwik Fit Insurance Services since acquisition in August 2010

Well capitalised business 

  • Strong Non-Life capital position of GBP 365 million, 2.6 times the FSA minimum

Announcing third quarter results, Barry Smith, Chief Executive of Ageas UK (formerly Fortis), commented:

“These results demonstrate that we continue to grow and progress right across the business, strengthening our position in our chosen markets.  Notwithstanding a tough 2010, our performance has improved quarter by quarter which is really encouraging. 

With regard to recent developments, the addition of Kwik Fit Insurance Services has bolstered our already strong retail operations and we have also started trading with Tesco Underwriting on time and to plan. 

On our rebrand to Ageas, I’m delighted by the reaction of the market and that the values Fortis stood for  – high customer service, quality delivery and doing what we say we’ll do – continue to resonate with our brokers, clients and customers.” 

Ageas UK (formerly Fortis)

Ageas UK’s businesses have continued to deliver good growth reflecting the Group’s effective multi-distribution strategy and partnership approach with brokers, clients, IFAs and suppliers.  The combination of high quality service and low cost delivery remains a key area of focus for the business.

The planned improvements made to Ageas UK’s underwriting rating structure for motor and early action on rate increases have resulted in improving profit and combined ratio performance through 2010. The acquisition costs of the newly acquired Kwik Fit Insurance Services of GBP 4.3 million and set-up costs for the partnership with Tesco Bank of GBP 7.7 million have been taken into account within the year to date results. 

The year to date profit result of GBP 16.6 million reflects a consistently improving trend for Ageas during 2010, despite industry-wide issues of severe weather experienced in January, poor Private car market performance and lower investment yields compared to last year.  These issues together with start up costs for the partnership with Tesco Bank and acquisition costs for Kwik Fit Insurance Services adversely impact the current result compared to the same period last year (YTD 2009: GBP 33.2 million).

Non-Life:

Ageas Insurance Limited 

Total year to date Gross Written Premiums (GWP) increased by 14.1% over the same period in 2009 to GBP 703.9 million, driven by the continued development of Ageas’s Personal and Commercial lines portfolios.

Growth in the Personal lines business reflects an increase in the Household and Travel books to GBP 177.2 million and GBP 44.5 million respectively (YTD 2009: GBP 151.7 million and GBP 38.6 million).  Aside from the escape of water claims at the beginning of 2010, the Household book is performing well.  The Travel account is still disappointing with rate increases across the market lagging behind claims cost experience.

Year to date Private car GWP increased to GBP 346.4 million (YTD 2009: GBP 332.3 million). Overall there is a need for further rate strengthening but the progress being made is encouraging.  Ageas has continued its consistent approach of pricing in line with the underlying risk, with recent technical rating changes including full postcode rating, use of external data sources and a focus on high frequency bodily injuries

Complementing its strong Personal lines performance, Ageas saw a 35% growth in Commercial lines to GBP 119.7 million (2009: GBP 88.5 million) as a result of its proven strategy to expand in this sector.  During 2010, Ageas has launched fully into the Fleet market, improved its product offering with an enhanced Semploy Extra proposition, broadened its commercial underwriting footprint and continues to develop its electronic trading capability making it easier and more efficient for brokers to write Commercial lines business.

The Non-Life combined ratio during the third quarter of 2010 further improved to 102.0%. The total year to date Non-Life combined ratio was 104.9%, reflecting quarter on quarter improvements during the year as a result of continued management actions (Q1 2010: 110.2%; HY 2010: 106.5%; YTD 2009: 104.6%). 

Tesco Bank Partnership:

Tesco Underwriting, the new insurance business with Tesco Bank, of which 50.1 per cent is owned by Ageas, began transacting business in October on time and to plan.  Year to date set-up costs of GBP 7.7 million are reflected in Ageas UK’s overall result. An update on the first trading results from Tesco Underwriting will be provided at full year. 

Life: 

Ageas UK’s Protection business (Fortis Life) continues to make good progress, with reported New Annual Premiums of GBP 16.3 million (YTD 2009: GBP 10.2 million).  This continued growth reflects the successful roll out of the company’s Protection proposition to an increasing number of Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs), where it now has a 5.1% market share.  

The company provides cover to over 100,000 customers (year end 2009: 63,000 customers) and currently receives an average of around 700 applications per day.  Growth in the Protection business has been heavily driven by its award-winning approach to underwriting and market-leading technology, which results in immediate decisions for approximately 70% of applicants. This has been further developed in the third quarter with the rollout of online trust-writing functionality and the introduction of multi-product discounts.

The Protection business, which was launched in July 2008, carried a pre-tax loss up to September 2010 of GBP 3.3 million (YTD 2009: loss of GBP 6.1 million).

Other Insurance Activities:

Ageas UK’s retail operations, RIAS, Kwik Fit Insurance Services and Ageas Insurance Solutions (UKAIS), continue to trade well in the competitive environment. The retail operations delivered a 32% increase in total inflows to GBP 96.0 million, driven by good customer retention, portfolio growth, add-on revenues, growth in partnership income and the addition of Kwik Fit Insurance Services (GBP 17.6 million). Revenue excluding Kwik Fit Insurance Services increased 7.5% compared to the same period last year.

In addition to partnerships with Toyota (GB) PLC and Aioi Motor & General and American Express announced earlier in the year, a deal with Tesco Bank to provide travel insurance was secured during the period.  The deal will provide travel insurance solutions to around 170,000 Tesco Travel customers. 

Kwik Fit Insurance Services has added a further 600,000 customers to Ageas, further strengthening its retail base and representing another step in the ongoing development of its multi-distribution strategy. 

Profit Before Tax for the Other Insurance Activities including the retail businesses was GBP 12.9 million at 30 September (YTD 2009: GBP 13.0 million).  The result to 30 September includes the operational contribution from Kwik Fit Insurance Services (GBP 4.1 million) as well as the one-off acquisition costs (GBP 4.3 million).  The like for like comparison for the RIAS and UKAIS retail businesses with the same period last year, shows an increase in Profit Before Tax of 7.3% on the strength of commission income growth.

Rebranding 

Good progress is being made with the rebrand from Fortis to Ageas.  Ageas UK’s Protection business, Fortis Life, will be changing to the Ageas name in January 2011.  Plans are on track and the rebranding process is expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2011.