Aggregators have helped the smaller insurer, O'Roarke says

The value of LV=’s broker business has soared to £400m, a 20-fold increase on its value of £19.2m in the first half of 2008, managing director John O’Roarke has revealed. The insurer’s market share in motor now stands at 7% and it expects total GWP for 2009 to stand in excess of £810m.

O’Roarke put the growth down to an increased focus on distribution since its management overhaul in 2006. “The big thing for LV= was broadening its distribution channels. It had existed as an old-fashioned affinity-based insurer. What it was lacking was a strong direct presence. It didn’t have any stake at all in the broker market and it didn’t have any significant corporate partners. It has all grown quite strongly but the broker business has grown the most.”

He said the spurt in broker business had been partly driven by LV=’s acquisition of Highway in 2008, which is now generating an extra £50m in income. The dominance of price comparison sites had helped smaller insurers gain a greater foothold in personal lines, O’Roarke explained. “If you look across the market generally, it is the bigger insurers that are losing market share and the smaller ones that are gaining it.”