Beast from the East and competitive motor market pushed the Co-op insurer into greater losses

Co-operative Insurance Services blamed “The Beast from the East” for widening losses in the first half of the year.

CIS reported an underlying loss of £4m for the six months to 7 July, compared to a loss of £1m a year, while its operating loss widened to £14m from £11m.

“The loss was higher than last year as we helped our insured Co-op members and customers recover from the impacts of the extreme weather early in the year, including the ‘Beast from the East’, the company said in a statement to the Stock Exchange.

Insurance sales fell by 2% to £160m which the company said reflected “very challenging trading conditions” in the UK motor insurance market, where prices have fallen 11% since the first half of 2017.

During the first half of 2018 CIS launched a renewal guarantee for Co-op members to not be beaten on price for their buildings and contents insurance. New customers buying direct also get £50 in Co-op food vouchers. The company said this has led to over 28,000 policies being sold in the first half, a 5% increase on last year

“Work is progressing on how we can significantly grow our insurance offer from our existing base of approximately 1.3 million policies. We expect to have announced our plans by the first quarter of 2019,” the company said.

It added that the insurance business plans to extend its reach by launching more new products in the second half of this year.