AXA UK & Ireland profit comes despite flat underwriting performance

AXA UK & Ireland profit

AXA UK & Ireland has reported a 12% increase in underlying profit to £263m.

Total revenues were up 8.1% to £4.4bn (2015: £4.1bn).

This was buoyed by 10% growth in UK commercial lines gross written premium (GWP) to £1.1bn and a 5.4% increase in UK personal lines gross written premium to £1.2bn.

The AXA UK & Ireland profit came despite flat, but profitable, underwriting performance, with a combined operating ratio of 97.3% (2015: 97.1%)

AXA UK chief executive Amanda Blanc (pictured) said: “These are a really strong set of results and the delivery of five consecutive years of profitable growth shows that the turnaround of this business is not only complete, but one year on, the business continues on the right trajectory.”

But she added: “It is clear that the uncertainty in financial markets and the wider economy continues and we must be vigilant to the consequent risks and ready to react to the opportunities that arise.”

The 5.4% increase in UK personal lines gross written premium was helped by “strong growth” in the direct motor book, fuelled in part by rate increases, Blanc said.

She attributed the 10% growth in UK commercial lines to the launch and delivery of AXA UK’s proposition for mid-market clients.

While the turnaround is complete, 2016 has been a year of change for AXA UK and Ireland. It sold its wealth and Sun Life business to Phoenix Group and its UK broking business Bluefin to Marsh.

Blanc said: “Having completed the disposal of Wealth and Bluefin, we will continue to focus on profitable and responsible growth, innovation across business lines and distribution channels and increasing operational efficiency to deliver the service that our customers demand.”