Combined operating ratio in UK improves to 95.3%

Zurich has improved its combined operating ratio (COR) in the UK to 95.3%, but wrote £20m less business in the first nine months of 2013, the insurer has reported.

Its COR is a 5.3 point improvement on 2012 when it stood at 100.6%.

However, gross written premium (GWP) is down by £20m to £1.25bn, compared with £1.27bn in the same period last year.

Zurich’s Q3 performance has been hailed as largely positive, with business operating profit up by 79% rising from £50m to £113m. This compares with £63m in 2012.

Controlled spending has led to an improvement on expense ratio, now at 28.9% compared with 30.2% reported in 2012.

Zurich UKGI chief executive Steve Lewis said: “It would be easy to be complacent when we are able to report strong profitability – but our industry and the broader commercial market place show no signs of becoming any less challenging.

“Writing new business is clearly important, but we will maintain our underwriting discipline and make our pricing decisions accordingly. The global investment market is adapting to a new norm, and pricing decisions must reflect this.

“While weather-related claims have been relatively low throughout the year, and have certainly contributed to the positive results, it’s important to recognise that our underlying loss ratio continues to improve, combined with success in controlling our cost base, both major factors in our profitability. Our focus remains on running profitable businesses and we will continue an active programme of refining our propositions to meet our customers’ changing needs.”