Insurer’s 2011 result strengthened by acquisitions and new products

Swinton’s profits rose 22% to £34.3m in 2011 (2010: £28.1m), boosted by acquisitions, online sales and new product launches.

The company endured a tough end to the year following the sacking of the entire executive board in December in a dispute over the board’s performance-related share scheme payments due to be made in the first quarter of 2012.

And this year parent company Covéa scrapped plans to launch its £20m aggregator - and warned that redundancies could be made - because the platform did not fit with its core UK business and plans for future growth.

Swinton chief executive Christophe Bardet, who succeeded Peter Halpin in January, told Insurance Times that the firm’s strong strategy had been borne out in the results.

“The results are good because the strategy is good,” he said. “We are looking for a constant improvement, and our intention is to carry out a strategic review from September, when the new management team is in place, focused on innovation and new sources of improvement.”

Swinton’s turnover was up 18% to £329m, while shareholders funds increased to £142m from £124m.

Swinton’s parent company MMA Holdings UK said in its accounts: “Operating profit before share scheme and exceptional items showed an 80% growth compared to the prior year despite continued challenging market conditions.

“Significant further investment in marketing and expenditure impacted short-term profitability while developing customer numbers.”