Insurance group planning to ‘ride the wave’ of aggregator growth in home insurance, says Gary Hoffman

Hastings has experienced flattening motor rates in the past two months, which bodes well for hardening later this year, according to Hastings group chief executive Gary Hoffman.

He also said his company is planning to continue growing its home business and “ride the wave” of growth in home insurance bought on price comparison websites.

Motor rates

Speaking to Insurance Times following the release of Hastings’s second-quarter results today, Hoffman said: “We have seen stability on the pricing in the market in the last couple of months.

“I can’t talk for the rest of the market but over the last few months Hastings has put some price increases through. That will, all other things being equal, bear fruit in improved accident-year loss ratio in subsequent years.”

He noted comments from competitors that rates would improve either later this year or early next and added: “My personal view would be that, having seen that stabilisation, we would more likely see the turn this year than next year.”

Riding the home wave

Hastings Group reported a 90% increase n profit before tax to £17.1m in the second quarter of 2014 (Q2 2014: £9m), driven by revenue growth of 19% to £97.6m.

Hoffman said the positive results showed that “Hastings is winning the battle” in a “very tough, intense market”.

One of the areas of future growth for Hastings is home insurance. Motor currently makes up just under 90% of its business, and it sources 90% of its business from price comparison sites.

Hoffman said an increasing number of customers are buying home insurance through price comparison sites. He added: “We have got the people, the systems, the data to take advantage of that. You would expect to see us ride the wave of price comparison growth for home insurance just like we have for motor insurance.”

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