Seven regional offices to be set up to support commercial risk system

Brit is set to launch an online 'quote and buy' system for UK provincial commercial lines risks in the autumn.Speaking at the announcement of Brit's 2003 annual results, group chief executive Neil Eckert said that the company was establishing a network of seven regional offices that would support a web-based system for buying SME policies.The system is based on the MTC ebix system that Brit currently uses to sell haulage business through US surplus lines brokers. Brit said that it was working on a project that would eventually bring over 100 products to the market through the Brit UK System (BUKS).Dane Douetil, who was promoted this week to deputy chief executive, said that Brit would increase its UK commercial lines premium to between £425m and £430m for this year, up from £309m in 2003. Commenting on BUKS, Douetil said: "Brokers want real time underwriting decisions and policy fulfilment." The news came as Brit Insurance Holdings announced record profits. Pre-tax profits rose to £77.6m for the year end 2003 compared to £10m in 2002. Gross written premium increased to £1.02bn compared to £663m and the combined ratio improved slightly from 88.6% to 88.5%.Eckert said that Brit had applied to the courts so that it could resume dividend payments to investors. "An early interim dividend of 2p will be paid subject to court, shareholder and stockholder approval," he said. Resumption of dividend payments would attract a new raft of investors, said Eckert.Douetil also said that Brit's initiative to replace its nine London market systems with one is just weeks away. "Project Thames will give our underwriters real-time data to make decisions."

Brit gives birthBrit chief executive Neil Eckert: "We've been pregnant with possibility for sometime, now we have delivered."

  • Pre-tax profits: £77.6m in 2003 compared to £10m in 2002
  • u Gross written premium: £1.02bn compared to £663m
  • Combined ratio: 88.5% down from 88.6%
  • Dividend payments to resume subject to court and stakeholder approval