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Ansvar helps UK parent post profit surge

UK-based faith insurer Ecclesiastical Insurance Office nearly doubled its profit after tax to £35.3 million ($76 million) in the first half of this year, partly driven by its Ansvar Australia unit.

“Looking outside the UK and Ireland, the first half… has seen a strong contribution from our two overseas territories, Australia and Canada, with both businesses reporting a profit and… gross written premium growth,” CEO Mark Hews says.

Ansvar’s retention rates remain strong and new business volumes increased compared with the first half of last year due to growth in the SME portfolio.

Following feedback from broker partners, SME product wordings and risk solutions are being enhanced and technology developed to ease brokers’ transactions with the company.

Ansvar CEO Warren Hutcheon told insuranceNEWS.com.au the business’ gross natural peril claim costs were higher than expected in the six months, driven by events in NSW and Queensland.

“A significant portion of these claims costs were recovered under Ansvar’s reinsurance arrangements and consequently did not affect the net underwriting result.”

Ecclesiastical says underwriting profit was £14.3 million ($30.78 million) in the first half of this year, up from £3.8 million ($8.18 million) in the corresponding period last year.

The group’s combined operating ratio improved to 85.8% from 96.7%.

Gross written premium fell 6.4% to £153.9 million ($331.34 million), while investment returns were 28.5% higher at £21.6 million ($46.51 million).

“These strong interim results are further proof that an ethical, specialist financial services group with a unique business model can be commercially successful,” Mr Hews said.

The results allow Ecclesiastical to give a further £15 million ($32.31 million) to charity, bringing its total contribution over the past two years to £40.3 million ($86.82 million). Ecclesiastical aims to donate £50 million ($107.72 million) over a three-year period ending next year.

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