AXA Insurance GWP up 1% in the first half of 2010
AXA Insurance said revenues (GWP) in its UK general insurance business increased 1% to £1.08bn in the first half of 2010, from £1.06bn during the same period in 2009.
In its commercial business, revenues were down by 18% "due to the continuing soft market, high levels of competition and the ongoing strategic focus on profitable business".
AXA said the anticipated hardening of the market, particularly in commercial property and casualty, has not materialised but rate increases of 7% have been achieved in commercial motor.
AXA said its ambitions in the large SME market "are proceeding as planned and the business has appointed a number of specialist underwriters with the first of its new management liability products planned for launch in October".
Revenue growth in its personal direct, boosted by the launch of AXA Car Insurance in January which has sold more than 100,000 policies , was offset by a decline in sales in commercial lines.
AXA's current year combined operating ratio improved 2.3 points on a comparable basis to 104.9%, reflecting an upturn in underlying profitability, the insurer stated.
GWP in its personal lines business rose by 19%, boosted by an "excellent performance" from the direct motor products with revenues up 71% to £210m and combined motor policy numbers grew by 37% from the first half of 2009 to 890,000.
In its personal intermediary business, motor revenues were up 10% "helped by significant rate increases, up around 14% in the first half".
Sales of household products resulted in revenue growth increasing 5%. It said rates have improved by 7% for products sold through brokers.
AXA's broking arm Bluefin Bluefin Insurance Group posted a 4% fall in revenues to £57m in the first half of 2010.
It said there was strong growth from some business lines, including: PMI business up 7%, partners division up 7% and personal lines up 4%
Overall, AXA's UK's underlying earnings increased by 34% to £151m and the insurer confirmed that group chief executive Nicolas Moreau is being replaced by Paul Evans.