Chief exec confirms deals with Giles, Oval

Allianz UK bucked the trend with strong results in its commercial business after striking a number of deals with major consolidators.

The insurer’s commercial lines gross written premium (GWP) increased to £761.8m in the first nine months of the year, compared with £689.4m in the same period last year. The combined ratio was 85.5%, compared with 88.8% last year.

Allianz became the lead insurer of Towergate underwriting agency Fusion at the start of the year and its chief executive, Andrew Torrance, confirmed it had agreed a number of distribution arrangements with other consolidators.

“We have grown our relationship with Giles quite substantially throughout 2009 and our relationship with Oval has developed well also.”

Other insurers, including Aviva, pulled out of dealing with consolidators last year over inflated commissions. But Torrance added: “We are willing to work with any distributor that produces profitable business for us, and in our judgment those people are doing just that.”

Torrance said that, despite positive commercial rate increases in the first two quarters of the year, rates were “stalling” in quarter three.

Overall, the insurer reported a 23.1% rise in IFRS operating profit to £173.3m in the nine months to 30 September 2009. GWP rose almost £44m to £1.2bn in the nine-month period. The combined ratio improved from 95.4% to 91%.

In its retail business, GWP fell to £435.8m during the nine months to 30 September, from £464.3m in the same period last year. Retail combined ratio was 99.8%, compared to 105.4% last year. Torrance said the retail operation was making “encouraging progress, returning to a positive underwriting result for the year to date.”