Fortis to expand mid net worth range in 2008

Fortis UK chief executive, Barry Smith has said the insurer is poised to launch a mid net worth household product.

Smith was speaking as the company unveiled record growth in 2007. Gross written premiums increased by over 10% to £757.8m, driven by strong growth in private car policies and the insurer’s retail businesses. Pre-tax profit fell 62% to £29.5m owing to the January storms and the summer floods, which hit profits by £62.7m.

Smith said : “We have incrementally built on the range of products we offer [in commercial lines], including general and specialist. That’s the direction we will take in 2008. There is a compelling need to offer a wider range of products."

In 2006, the insurer launched commercial vehicle, leisure and care homes products. The insurer’s commercial lines book grew by 10.4% in 2007 to £70.2m.

Smith added: “In principle we are still in small SME, but we will progressively increase [the value of the risks we take] in 2008. It is important for us to build products that help brokers”.

Heritage profit jump 125%

2007 pre-tax profits at Heritage Underwriting Agency jumped 125% to £23.3m. Gross written premiums rose by £65m to £175m while the combined ratio remained level at 90%.

Chief executive Richard Pexton said: “We are holding firm on our core value of not sacrificing profit for volume.” International property treaty and non-US general liability classes would significantly enhance Heritage’s underwriting portfolio, he added.

Record profits for Chaucer, but GWP slips

Chaucer Holdings reported record pre-tax profit of over £89m for 2007. In its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2007, the Lloyd’s insurer reported pre-tax profit had risen by 4% to £89.4m. Gross written premiums were £584.1m for the year down from £594m in 2006.

Chaucer’s combined ratio improved to 81.6% compared to 84.7% in 2006. Heritage’s underwriting portfolio, he added.