Insurer positive about growth opportunities

Multi channel approach at Fortis drives consistent growth

General insurer Fortis Insurance (UK) sees continued growth despite market pressure with reports of a 14% increase in gross written premium (GWP) to £383 m in the first half of 2007.

The growth is driven by a 24% increase in GWP for private car and an 8% rise in commission income from Fortis' retail businesses, RIAS and Outright.

Announcing the results, Barry Smith, CEO of Fortis commented: “I am pleased to announce these positive results for Fortis, which show both the success of our multi-distribution strategy to bring in more partnerships, and also our commitment to delivering a high-quality service. Fortis’s success has also been recognised by the industry, with our recent win as General Insurer of the Year 2007 at the British Insurance Awards in July - a fantastic achievement for all the team.”

Smith continued: “Our commitment to service has been further substantiated by the positive feedback we have received from customers and partners for the way in which we have handled the claims arising from the flood and storm damage. While it remains too early for Fortis to make a proper assessment of the impact of the July floods, our priority remains with the customer during their time of need.”

Figures show Fortis’s strong growth in overall gross written premium (GWP) income. First half 2007 results reveal a private car GWP of £236 m, a 24% increase year-on-year (just under £200 m in the first half of 2006).

This growth has been driven by a 100,000 increase in Fortis’ motor book, taking the number of private cars insured to more than 1.6 m, reinforcing the underwriter’s position as third largest insurer of private cars in the UK. Fortis also secured a number of significant renewals and deals in the first six months of the year including lead insurer position on the Marks & Spencer Money motor insurance panel.

Fortis’s commercial portfolio - consisting of its van, self employed and small commercial packages - saw an increase of 9% in the first half of 2007 to a GWP of £36 m (£33 m in H2 2006). Fortis will look to further expand its business in the commercial sector in the second half of 2007 and beyond.

Smith added: “We are focusing on where we can provide the most appropriate solutions to meet market and customer needs. In the same way that we developed our well-received Care Home and Leisure Guard products, we are currently looking at other sectors and are confident that we will be able to further develop the commercial portfolio.”

Fortis credits it performance to its multi-channel distribution model, which enables it to offer a range of products - from underwriting capabilities to sales, marketing and fulfilment, as well as a variety of distribution methods built on first class technology platforms. For example, by introducing voice recognition software combined with the use of Text2Insure’s technology platform, Fortis has developed propositions for major brands in the UK including Coventry Building Society and more recently Alliance & Leicester.

Smith concluded: “This unparalleled multi-channel model, I believe, makes Fortis the natural choice for affinity partners. Moreover, our constant innovation is core to our business and, along with service excellence, is a fundamental element in our successful and award-wining strategy.”