Insurer to announce first underwriting profit in 13 years

Co-operative Insurance (CIS) is today expected to announce its first underwriting profit in 13 years, despite weather events in 2007 that saw the company pay £36m in flood claims.

The insurer will report profits of over £50m, which is a 50% increase on 2006. The interim review put the combined operating ratio at 127%.

CIS director of general insurance David Neave said: “We have put in place an entirely new claims operation with new systems, processes and offices. We have also focused on attacking the existing stock of motor claims in particular, and driving more efficient savings out of there than they were previously being settled for.”

In addition to improving efficiency, the company has spent the past 18 months developing a direct arm.

Instead of relying solely on tied financial advisers, it now sells policies directly by phone and via the internet.

CIS has reduced its agents from 5,000 to around 1,000. But Neave said with new alternate distribution channels in place he would like to grow the number of tied advisers again, although there would not be as many as before.

He added: “Our premium has gone down on 2006 because we’ve been shedding some unprofitable business.”