RSA, Admiral, Aviva and Ageas have all changed tack amid an evolving marketplace

The revelation that RSA has trimmed personal lines motor premium income in the UK by 19% in 2012, comes hot on the heels of Admiral putting on the brakes.

Admiral revealed last week that its UK motor turnover was flat at £1.53bn for the first nine months of the year.

A big reason is that both companies aren’t pushing through rate increases at the same pace as they were this time last year.

RSA increased rates 19% this time last year, but in 2012 they only had a 1% rise.

Meanwhile, Admiral has blamed the soft market for its stalling growth.

Both companies will be fully aware of the Actuarial Profession’s working party report last month that revealed bodily injury claims inflation is still running at 30% and shows no signs of abating.

This is why it’s interesting that Aviva and Ageas are growing so rapidly. Could it be risky?

Aviva and Ageas full steam ahead

Aviva has grown because it has slashed its operating costs, and launched the aggregator-purpose Quotemehappy website.

Furthermore, it’s also improved fraud detection, and has real-time pricing with brokers via software house SSP.

Ageas revealed yesterday that it was also growing its personal lines motor book.

Chief executive Barry Smith seems to know what he’s doing, having clocked up a punchy 94% combined ratio for motor in 2012.

A great opportunity for all these insurers is the gender directive. They all have good pricing software and underwriting data, meaning there is a chance to pile on female customers, taking them from less-established rivals.

Who gains volume in the fourth quarter, and first quarter of next year, will be very interesting in relation to the gender directive.

Taking the commercial crown

While insurers are battling it out in personal lines, find out what brokers think of their commercial lines prowess in 2012 in the latest instalment of the Insurance Times Broker Service Survey.

There have been some interesting changes to the rankings in this year’s commercial lines report, not the least of which is Sterling knocking Chubb off the top spot. For full details, click here.