Arista chief says the uncertain marketplace makes a real forecast impossible

Arista chief executive Charles Earle says he is now hoping for a profit of £200,000-£300,000 for the full year after the commercial lines MGA made a pre-tax profit of £60,000 in H1 2010. This compares with a loss of £800,000 for the first half of 2009.

After Arista released its 2009 results in May, Earle told Insurance Times that he was hoping for a profit of £500,000 for 2010. A profit for the full year would be Arista’s first since it opened for business in 2007.

But Earle insists that his profit hopes are not a forecast, and that the impact of market conditions on a relatively new business are tough to call. “So much can happen in the last week of a month that I’m not even predicting what August will look like at this stage,” he said.

While he has lowered his goal, Earle says he is more upbeat about the prospects for a full-year profit than he was earlier in the year. “It is such an uncertain marketplace that when you are looking at it with eight months still to come as opposed to five, you are naturally more concerned about what the range of outcomes can be.”

Arista’s gross written premium grew 21% to £33.2m in the first half of 2010, from £27.4m in the same period last year. Expenses remained almost flat, growing by less than 1% compared with the first half of 2009.

Earle attributed Arista’s growth and performance in the first half in part due to brokers’ appreciation of the MGA’s service offering.