DLG sets the early pace

Direct Line Group has reported strong growth in motor in the first half of 2016, increasing by more than two per cent from £356.9m to £389.6m.

The results stated: ‘Total Motor in-force policies increased by 2.5% in a market in which the demand for new cars has grown. Motor’s own brands grew by 3.1% with customer retention remaining at strong levels. The Direct Line brand has been performing well in the direct market with new business volumes rising, following investment in its propositions and competitive pricing.’

These results softened the blow of an overall decrease in operating profits following lower investment income.

Paul Geddes, CEO of Direct Line Group, said, ‘I am pleased with our results over the first half of 2016, as we delivered an excellent performance against a very strong comparator from the previous year. We have generated operating profits of over £320m in spite of weaker investment markets and the addition of the new Flood Re levy.

‘Our customers continued to respond well to the refreshed propositions of our brands, which is reflected in another increase in the number of our own brands policies. Together, this demonstrates the benefits of the improvements we have made to strengthen our business.’

Also releasing its half-year results, AXA UK has reported a seven per cent rise in general insurance revenues. It stated that its general insurance and healthcare revenues were £2.2bn for the time period, compared to £2.1bn last year.

AXA UK CEO Amanda Blanc said, ‘In a challenging macro-economic environment, these are a very strong set of results. Although we continue to deliver improved underwriting profitability, we are facing into some strong headwinds with deteriorating investment returns, rising claims costs across all motor classes and a challenging personal lines broker market.’

However, she did speak out against motor fraud – and whiplash claims in particular – claiming that it remains an ‘intense inflationary pressure on motor premiums. We continue to work with the Government and the wider industry to combat this.’

Results from other insurers are expected in the coming days.