Engelhardt insists firm will not be going after market share

Admiral chief executive Henry Engelhardt says its planned launch into household insurance is likely to happen next year.

In an exclusive interview with Insurancetimes.co.uk, Engelhardt said the Cardiff-based FTSE 100 giant was still working on the new proposition, which would be its first foray outside the motor insurance market.

Admiral announced plans to launch into the household arena last year. “We currently have a small team working on this, and there's the chance of a launch in 2011 – but 2012 is more likely,” Engelhardt said.

It is expected that Admiral will grab market share in the household market by offering polices through aggregators, including its own Confused.com.

Admiral currently has around 10% market share in the UK private car insurance market, with brands such as Admiral Direct, Elephant.co.uk and Diamond. It is ranked second among the largest players in UK motor, behind RBS Insurance.

However, Engelhardt denied that the firm was aggressively targeting market share.

“We don’t target market share: market share is a by-product of growth,” he said. “If we can continue to grow profitably then we will, and we will therefore continue to gobble up market share. This might take us to 11% share or 25% share. Whatever it is, so be it.”

In its most recently published numbers, Admiral reported group turnover of £446m for the third quarter of 2010 – an increase of more than 50% over its Q3 2009 turnover. The insurer’s stock price was described as “defying gravity” by one leading analyst, particularly its ability to avoid losses from bodily injury claims.

However, Engelhardt denied there were any special secrets. “There’s no magic formula or secret potion. We do a lot of things well. We have good ideas, which is half the battle, but we also implement the ideas well, which is the other half of the battle.

Engelhardt said Admiral had no plans to enter the UK broker market “at this point in time”.