And investment in technology aids emerging telematics offerings

Direct Line Group (DLG) has reported an improving motor book despite a 9% drop in gross written premium (GWP) over the first six months of 2014.

The insurer wrote £665.4m worth of motor business over the period, down 9% on the £731.4m written over H1 2013.

But underwriting profit for the motor book improved as the combined operating ratio (COR) fell by 2.2 percentage points to 93.6%.

Investment in new technology has also helped DLG make strides in the fast-growing telematics market, and telematics for young drivers now makes up more than half of new phone business at the insurer.

Drivers under the age of 21 who arranged insurance over the phone were more likely to take out a telematics policy than a traditional policy, and 20% of under-25s placing new business with the insurer took up telematics insurance regardless of distribution channel.

The insurer has also seen benefits from its redesigned mobile offerings over the first six months of 2014.

DLG reported an 18% increase in the number of motor quotes that completed as a sale when the transaction took place via a smartphone or tablet.

Chief executive Paul Geddes said the improvements were a result of the business being able to continue to invest in technology.

“Our performance has allowed us to continue to invest in the future of our business, to enhance our product propositions and improve our customer experience,” he said. “We have rolled out self-install telematics boxes, which will enable us to reward better driving, and we’ve made it easier to buy our motor products on smartphones and tablets.”

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