Broker surges past 'break even' target for 2009

LV= turned around a £30m loss in 2008 into a £7m profit last year, surpassing its five-year business plan, which had aimed for a break-even result in 2009.

The broker nearly doubled its gross written premium from £445m in 2008 to £811m last year, benefiting from a full-year’s inclusion of personal lines insurer Highway.

Highway, which was bought at the end of 2008, increased premium more than 21% to £287m.

LV= managing director John O’Roarke said: “The increased scale has got us to a size where the business should be fundamentally.

“Our target last year was to break even, and we actually did better than that, so we’re pretty happy with that outcome.

“The second aspect is the maturing of our business.

“We’ve put on a lot of new business over the last three years. As the book of business is maturing, it is starting to become more profitable.”

LV= wants to increase its commercial book to £250m by 2014. O’Roarke said the business was on course, despite the soft market.

He explained: “If you look at some of the results that have been published already, despite what people are saying about rates needing to go up, it is still a profitable segment of the market.

“I don’t think rates will be held back as far as 2014. I think there will be an upturn but probably not for the next 12 months or so.”