Insurer blames drop in investment returns

Ecclesiastical reported a rise in premium income in the first half, boosted by strong retention and new propositions, but said profits fell sharply.

Gross written premiums rose 4% in the first half to £172.7m from £166.0m.

Mark Hews, Ecclesiastical

Pretax profit fell to £19.4m from £42.2m, hit by a fall in investment returns to £17.7m from a figure of £40.1m last year. Ecclesiastical said, however that pretax profit was in line with expectations, as its investment income has returned to more normal levels following exceptional gains last year from a strong equity market.

Ecclesiastical said it is donating £5m to charity after the first half, bringing to more than £100m its donations over the last five years.

The company continues to see growth in art and private client, charity, heritage and schemes business and said it has “ambitious plans for the future”.

“Ecclesiastical is unlike any other financial services group – we are a commercial company with a wholly charitable purpose and one of the top five corporate donors in the UK,” said chief executive Mark Hews (pictured).