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Rates, volume growth drive stronger Steadfast first quarter 

Steadfast says its first quarter underlying results are significantly higher than a year earlier and the group has reaffirmed its full-year guidance. 

“Since we reported our FY23 results, insurers have continued to increase premium rates due to the large number of recent catastrophes and higher claims inflation,” Steadfast CEO Robert Kelly told the annual general meeting on Friday. 

“This together with solid volume growth has been a major contributor to our performance for the first quarter.” 

Unaudited underlying earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) was 22.4% ahead of the same period last year and underlying net profit was 15.3% ahead, he said. 

Full-year guidance includes underlying EBITA of $500-510 million and underlying net profit of $230-240 million. 

Mr Kelly told the meeting that Finance Director Eimear McKeever had been appointed Steadfast International CFO and Nick McKee Steadfast International COO. The division is led by Samantha Hollman, who took up the position in April. 

Steadfast has expanded its international footprint with the acquisition earlier this month of ISU, one of the largest privately owned independent insurance agency networks in the US, for $US55 million ($87 million). 

Mr Kelly said ISU is a family run business with distribution across more than 40 states, and US insurers have confirmed it to be reliable and ethical.  

Apart from the range of services and systems transferrable to the ISU network, Steadfast has established that there’s strong interest in the roll out of its premium funding company and opportunities for its Insight back-office system and Steadfast Client Trading Platform. 

Five Steadfast underwriting agencies will be introduced to the network and Mr Kelly says there is “keen interest” in the trapped capital program, which provides an opportunity for members to sell down their stake. 

“We will build North America the way we build Australia, slowly, methodically and not stepping outside our defined paradigms of how we go about doing things,” he told the annual meeting.