After being crowned as market-leading insurers at this year’s Insurance Times Awards, Insurance DataLab explores the figures behind the triple-A trio’s successes in 2023

The annual Insurance Times Awards is one of the highlights of the year for the UK general insurance (UKGI) market, as the great and the good of the industry come together to celebrate its achievements from the last 12 months.

Three of the most prestigious awards of the night are the nominated accolades for Personal Lines Insurer of the Year, Commercial Lines Insurer of the Year and the overall General Insurer of the Year.

For 2023, Aviva picked up the gong for General Insurer of the Year, once again retaining its title at the top of UKGI.

The insurer had another strong year in terms of underwriting – Insurance DataLab’s analysis of its latest Solvency and Financial Condition Reports (SFCRs) revealed an all lines combined operating ratio (COR) of 95.4% for 2022.

This is almost five percentage points ahead of the 100.2% aggregate COR for UK and Gibraltar-regulated insurers and marks a 0.5 percentage point improvement on the previous year.

Aviva has now reported a positive underwriting result in each of the last three years despite the tough market conditions, and the 100.4% COR reported for 2019 is the only time the insurer has fallen to an underwriting loss in the last five years.

Aviva’s strongest performing line for 2022 was income protection, which had a COR of 68.6% and gross written premium (GWP) of £43.5m.

But Aviva’s strong underwriting performance is not limited to just one line of business. The insurer reported an underwriting profit in all but one line of business, with property insurance the only line to fall to an underwriting loss with a COR of 101.8.%.

This was, however, still 4.5 percentage points better than the market average of 106.3%.

Aviva’s motor performance is particularly pleasing for the insurer considering that this business line accounts for around a third of its overall book, with GWP of £1.7bn making it the insurer’s second largest business line behind property, which boasts GWP of £2.2bn

The insurer reported a motor COR of 90.6% for 2022, a one percentage point improvement on the previous year and more than 20 percentage points better than the market average of 111.1%.

The insurer was also rated highly in Insurance DataLab’s 2023 Underwriting Performance Ratings, which were published in the 2023 edition of the Insurance Times Top 50 Insurers 2023 report.

This analysis compares insurers’ latest CORs, three-year aggregate CORs and COR improvements over the last year.

Aviva Insurance received an underwriting score of 65% compared to a market average of 62%, although Aviva’s other underwriting arm, Gresham Insurance, received a rating of 52% after a jump in its COR.

It is worth noting, however, that Gresham accounts for less than 2% of Aviva’s total premium, with GWP of just £101.8m.

Aviva also performed strongly in Insurance Times’ annual Five Star Ratings Reports – particularly in personal lines, where a 0.27 percentage point improvement took its score up to 3.98 out of five.

Looking at customer experience, Aviva fares well here too, according to Insurance DataLab’s assessment of sector-wide customer experience as part of its Customer Experience Report 2023, set to be published later this month.

This research looks at insurers’ and brokers’ customer experience performance across four key pillars – claims, complaints, customer satisfaction and transparency – with Aviva picking up an Insurance DataLab customer experience rating of 67%.

Top in commercial lines

In terms of commercial lines specifically, Arch rose to the top at the Insurance Times Awards and was named Commercial Lines Insurer of the Year for 2023.

The insurer had a strong year from an underwriting perspective, reporting a COR of 53.9% for 2022, according to its latest SFCR.

This represents a 57.9 percentage point improvement on the previous year and, although much of this improvement is due to an intra-group reinsurance deal, Arch still reported a profitable COR of 94.0% prior to the impact of this agreement.

And this performance led to Arch receiving a 2023 Insurance DataLab Underwriting Gold Award, with a score of 83% – the third highest across all UK insurers.

The insurer has also demonstrated significant growth in premiums too, writing a total of £562.7m of GWP over the course of 2022, up from £405.7m a year earlier.

The insurer performed strongly in Insurance Times’ Five Star Ratings Report: Commercial Lines 2023 after it received a score of 4.01 and an overall five-star rating.

This was the insurer’s first appearance in the ratings, making it all the more impressive that it was able to claim top spot at the first attempt.

Indeed, the insurer was ranked as one of the top three performing insurers in three of the five service factors – underwriting experience, policy documentation and relationship management – the latter of which saw the insurer pick up the highest score in the market.

Ageas places first in personal lines

As for the Personal Lines Insurer of the Year prize, this was awarded to Ageas at this year’s Insurance Times Awards.

The tough market conditions that have dogged the personal lines market over the last few years have been well reported and it is against this backdrop that Ageas reported a COR of 106.4% for 2022, up 7.3 percentage points on the previous year.

The insurer’s biggest line of business, however, was motor insurance – accounting for more than 55% of Ageas’s total premiums – and it was here that the insurer excelled.

Ageas reported a motor COR of 89.9% for 2022, which was a highly impressive 23.3 percentage points ahead of the 111.1% market average across the UK and Gibraltar.

Indeed, Ageas has now reported a profitable motor COR in each of the last five years – no mean feat in a highly competitive and challenging marketplace.

And this strong performance helped Ageas to a 66% Motor Underwriting Rating from Insurance DataLab, some three percentage points above the industry average for UK-regulated motor insurers and 12 percentage points better than motor insurers based in Gibraltar.

The insurer has also been performing strongly on the claims experience it is offering to its customers, with the latest Insurance DataLab Customer Experience Ratings awarding the insurer a 75% rating under its claims pillar.

This is three percentage points above the average for the market as a whole and some five percentage points above the insurer average for 2023.

Indeed, the insurer received the highest Consumer Intelligence claims satisfaction score – one of the metrics used by Insurance DataLab to calculate the Claims Rating –  picking up a score of 8.88 out of 10 for its RIAS-branded home insurance product.

Ageas has also been showing signs of improvement in the service it is offering to brokers, improving its score across four of the five service factors in Insurance Times’ Five Star Ratings Report: Personal Lines 2023.

Indeed, the insurer was rated second overall for its policy documentation after brokers gave it a score of 4.24, up from 3.75 last year.

This helped Ageas to an overall five star rating of 3.82 out of five, up from 3.56 last year.