Former Quindell group’s sole general insurance business sees revenues plummet

Watchstone Group reported losses for the first half, as its Ingenie telematics and broking business continued to face difficult market conditions.

The former Quindell group reported a pretax loss of £3.5m for the six months to June, compared to a profit of £0.01m a year earlier, as total revenues slipped to £19.7m from £22.9m.

Ingenie saw revenues plummet to £4.8m from £7.7m, blaming the knock-on effects of last year’s Ogden discount rate cut.

It said the rate cut caused declines in motor policy pricing, particularly in Ingenie’s young drive market, which it said benefited direct writers who can adjust pricing more quickly.

Watchstone said steps are being taken to address the issue and boost volumes.

The group said it has increased provisions against legal costs in its dispute with law firm Slater & Gordon to £4.3m from £3.2m, reflecting its “continued determination to robustly defend the action”.

The Australian law firm is suing for £637m over the 2015 sale of Quindell’s Professional Services Division.

The case is expected to go to trial in late 2019, the company said, adding that, “Our position remains that Slater & gordon’s allegations of deceit and the associated breach of warranty claim are wholly without merit and should never have been advanced.”

Watchstone gave no further information on any plans to sell Ingenie. Back in Apriul, it said it was preparing for sale its two remaining operations, Ingenie and a Canadian healthcare business.