Ageas posts £12.6m net profit 

Andy Watson, Ageas

Ageas UK notched up a £12.6m net profit in the first quarter, compared to a £4.5m loss in the same period last year

The insurer’s total combined ratio was 99.4% in the first quarter of this year, compared to 106.1% in the first three months to March 2014.

Ageas was buoyed by a big improvement in its commercial and special risks book, along with the benign weather conditions that helped household.

Commercial posted a 91.5% combined ratio (2014: 120.3%) and household 93.4% (111.8%).

Ageas’s improved profits come as it has trimmed down the volume of business it is taking onboard, with income falling to £459.1m compared to £501m.

Gross written premium fell to £323.7m (2014: £350.3m).

Despite the overall improved result, the insurer suffered a deteriorating performance in its motor book 103.6% (101.6%).

Tesco Underwriting

Elsewhere, Ageas pulled in £94.8m gross written premium (2014: £108.9m) in its partnership with Tesco Underwriting.

Competitive markets led to lower volumes in household and motor, but the upside was a profit of £1.5m (2014: -£4.12m).

Commercial opportunity

Ageas stressed its plans for commercial this year, which was one of the bright spots in its first quarter results. Ageas intends to grow its commercial motor, schemes business and digital trading. Commercial risks and inflow saw an increase of 6.4% in GWP to £43.8m.

Chief executive Andy Watson said: “It’s been a profitable but challenging first quarter, with competitive conditions continuing in both the home and motor markets as a result of low premiums.

“In commercial lines however we’ve seen a good performance where we’re further evolving our proposition for open market, digital trading and schemes business.

“At the same time we’re continuing the integration of our two insurance businesses, which is scheduled for completion by the end of the year, and are progressing with our new Ageas Retail strategy.

”Investment in our partnerships business continues to deliver success with two new deals secured with Virgin Money and Volkswagen Financial Services.

“Our commitment to delivering excellence customer service continues to receive significant industry recognition evidencing our desire to do the right thing for our customers.”