Chief executive Mark Hews said 2022 had been a ’transformational year’

Ecclesiastical managed to drop its combined operating ratio (COR) by more than five percentage points in 2022 despite receiving “unusually large claims” in the UK.

The specialist insurer said the business “performed strongly” last year as it published its full 2022 results today (17 March 2023).

As a result, the group managed to secure a COR of 91% in 2022, a decrease from 96.8% the previous year.

Its full year results showed that gross written premiums (GWP) grew 15% from £486m in 2021 to £559m in 2022, while underwriting profit jumped from £8.8m to £27.4m year-on-year.

The increase was driven by new business wins, strong retention and rate strengthening, along with impacts from the inflationary environment, a statement said.

“We have delivered steady underwriting profits despite adverse flooding and freeze events across territories and some unusually large claims in the UK,” Ecclesiastical said.

“Prior year releases have been modest overall as we have strengthened reserves for latent claims.

“Our strategy to focus on profitable growth opportunities has continued to deliver.”

However, the group’s operating performance was offset by fair value losses on its investment portfolio due to stock market falls and higher interest rates.

It led to an overall group loss before tax of £4.8m, whereas it saw a £79.2m profit in 2021.

‘Transformational year’

Despite this overall figure, Ecclesiastical said it remained “in a strong capital position and [its] credit rating agencies affirmed [its] excellent and strong credit ratings in the second half of 2022”.

Chief executive Mark Hews added: “Last year was a transformational year for our Ecclesiastical Group family.

”We launched a new brand, prepared for a new group structure, new strategy, new governance framework, new systems and strengthened our leadership.

“Our immediate owner, Ecclesiastical Insurance Group, became Benefact Group, heralding an exciting new chapter for our family of businesses, united by a common goal to give all available profits to good causes.”

He added that Ecclesiastical would be “extremely ambitious” for the future, with the company continuing to invest in new systems as well as pursuing growth opportunities in existing sectors and new niches.

“We will make significant investment in digital propositions, helping to build our distribution capability and reach, as we seek to find ways to meet our customers’ changing needs,” he added.

“We will also continue to prioritise risk management innovation, exploring new ways to protect our customers from losses, particularly from the growing threat of climate change.”