It has been hit by various factors including a higher number of winter claims than last year 

Hastings share price plummeted 8% today, its biggest fall since April last year, as Hastings revealed the extent of its issues with rising claims.

The calendar year loss ratio is now targeted as high as 81% to 82%.

Operating profits are in line for £110m this year, compared to £190.6m last year - a 42% fall.

A lower dividend is also expected. 

Hastings has been hit by a number of factors: 

  • Increases in repair and third party credit hire costs
  • Higher number of winter claims than last year
  • A small increase in large bodily injury claims

Live customers policies were up 5%. Hastings said it was pushing rate increases through.

Chief executive, Toby van der Meer said: ”Whilst the market environment has been challenging, with elevated claims inflation in the fourth quarter, we remained focused on our strategy of maintaining pricing discipline, applying rate increases ahead of the market.

“During the year we have also continued to make progress on our technology, operational and strategic initiatives.

“We have started to see the initial benefits of this come through, including our ability to maintain strong retention rates over the year, which I will talk about more at the full year results.

”Taking in to account the operating performance in 2019, the Board expects the 2019 total dividend to be lower than 2018.

”However, the board remains confident in the group’s ability to capitalise on its long term profitable growth opportunities, and therefore expects to pay a total dividend above the Group’s stated 65-75% target payout range. 2020 trading has started in line with expectations.”