100,000 policyholders added despite rate rises

Fortis has grown its premium income by 14% in the first half of 2007 compared to the same period last year, fuelled by a 24% increase in its personal lines motor book.

Despite raising motor premiums by 7% in the first six months of this year, the company added 100,000 policyholders, bringing the total number to 1.6 million – and £236m in premium.

Chief executive Barry Smith attributed the performance to a combination of enhanced distribution channels and new deals, including the capture of lead insurer position on the Marks & Spencer motor panel.

Fortis’ retail businesses, RIAS and OutRight, also posted growth in commission income of 8%, while the company grew its commercial lines book by 10% from £33m in the second half of 2006 to £36m in the first half of this year.

Smith said that the slower growth rate was due to the soft market: “Volume growth is there, but premiums are mitigating growth. We are currently looking at other sectors and are confident that we will be able to further develop the commercial portfolio.”

The company is looking to ramp up its commercial vehicle offering. It currently offers van, self employed and small commercial packages for commercial clients.

Smith said that personal lines premiums would continue to rise in the second half of the year, albeit at a slower rate.

The company has recently pledged to grow its broker team by 50%, and has created 12 districts throughout the UK to service clients.

Smith added: “This unparalleled multi-channel model makes Fortis the natural choice for affinity partners.”

Fortis’ affinity business accounts for a third of the company’s turnover.

In 2006, Fortis posted GWP of £688.3m, and pre-tax profits £77.5m.