Hastings boosts revenue and market share in the first quarter, against higher weather-related claims costs

Hastings Group boosted revenue and market share in the first quarter of the year, though its claims costs rose because of the snowy weather.

Net revenue increased by 18% to £735.6m for the 12 months to March (2017: £622.0m) and increased by 12% to £184.5m for the first quarter (2017: £164.5m).

Hastings Q13 months ended12 months ended
  31-Mar-18 31-Mar-17 Growth 31-Mar-18 31-Mar-17 Growth
Gross written premiums (£m) 226 214.7 5% 942.2 812.7 16%
Net revenue (£m) 184.5 164.5 12% 735.6 622 18%
Live customer policies (million)     2.67 2.42 10%
UK private car market share (%)     7.40% 6.70% 70 bps

Market share of UK private car insurance rose to 7.4% at the end of March, compared with 6.7% a year earlier. Live customer policies rose to 2.67 million at the end of March 2018, a 10% year on year increase from 2.42 million.

Hastings said the market pricing environment was challenging in the first two months of this year, though there has been an improvement in trading since then incuding policy numbers, and the group ”remains confident” of meeting its target of 3 million customers during 2019.

Hastings said the snow and icy weather during the first quarter resulted in higher claims costs than expected, but it said it is confident of delivering a calendar year loss ratio just below or within the target range of 75-79%.

Gross written premiums rose 16% to £942.2m for the 12 months ended March (2017: £812.7m) and were up 5% to £226.0m for the 3 months ended 31 March 2018 (31 March 2017: £214.7m), driven by average written premium increases, along with increases in customer numbers. 

“I’m pleased to announce another consecutive quarter of profitable growth,” said chief executive Toby van der Meer.

“We remain on track to deliver on our targets, including achieving 3 million customers during 2019 whilst maintaining our underwriting discipline and strong capital position.

“During the quarter we further enhanced our digital capabilities and continued the successful rollout of our new operational platform.

“We effectively traded through another competitive period for UK motor insurance, seeing good growth, in particular, in March and April.”

Van der Meer said Hastings’s digital, data driven and “agile” business model “leaves us well positioned to take advantage of continued consumer switching and growth of digital channels”.

He said the group ”has continued to deliver profitable trading performance in the first quarter and the board is pleased to confirm that Hastings is well positioned to continue its profitable growth, and we remain on track to deliver in line with all of our targets during 2019”.