Chief exec embraces online price comparison sites

Swiftcover’s advertising campaign with rock star Iggy Pop helped boost premium income by 46%.

Chief executive Steve Hardy said the advertisements had been a “huge success” after the online motor insurer posted £200m premium income for the first nine months of 2009, compared with around £137m for the same period last year.

Hardy said Swiftcover would continue to develop the Iggy Pop campaign.

He also said that Swiftcover, which acquired personal motor claims provider SIMS in June, would not be making any more acquisitions while it concentrated on organic growth.

Hardy said Swiftcover would continue with its strategy of selling through price comparison sites.

“We recognise that customers like price comparison sites. The price comparison sites are online and we are online. It makes sense to embrace that as seamlessly and efficiently as possible.”

Swiftcover helped its parent company AXA increase global personal lines motor revenue by 1.8%.

Hardy said: “AXA [Group] had an 815,000 increase in insurance customers of motor worldwide. We contributed 20% of that.”

However, the Paris-based insurer could not halt a UK and Ireland slide in property and casualty revenues to £3.07bn for the first nine months of 2009, compared with £3.52bn for the same period last year.

Globally, AXA’s property and casualty business grew 2.5%, from £20.03bn to £20.52bn.

Group chairman Henri de Castries said: “In property and casualty, sales growth remained slightly positive and we expect prices to generally increase over the coming months.”