Chief executive gives update at company's AGM.

Insurance Australia Group (IAG) chief executive Michael Wilkins said this week that the sale of some of the insurer’s UK businesses was progressing well.

Wilkin said at the company’s annual general meeting: “Discussions are continuing with interested parties, and we’re exploring all avenues of maximizing shareholder value, including selling the businesses as a whole or separately. We are pleased with the progress, particularly given prevailing market conditions,”

He added: “We expect to provide an update on this process by the time we report our half year results in February.”

IAG is selling its mass market distribution businesses in the UK - broker Hastings Direct, insurer Advantage and branch network Equity Insurance Brokers – in order to focus primarily on specialist motor business.

IAG is understood to have had discussion with potential trade and private equity buyers.

Reports have suggested Irish insurer Quinn Direct as being interested in acquiring Hastings Direct.

The performance of IAG’s mass market businesses had been adversely affected by the continuing soft UK private motor market, which had been slower to turn than IAG had anticipated.

IAG is retaining Lloyd’s insurer Equity Red Star and commercial broker Barnett & Barnett.