Esure shares slide as payouts and competition hurt profits

The Sheilas’ Wheels ads were used in 2005 by the motor insurer to court female drivers
SHARES in motor insurer Esure crashed by nine per cent yesterday after the company reported a slump in profits.

Full-year profits for 2014 fell 12.8 per cent to £103.8m, as increased competition and higher claims ate into its sales. The company was also forced to reduce its final dividend to 11.7p from 13.3p.

Gross written premiums fell 3.4 per cent to £517.8m. Esure also claimed that lawyers were finding innovative ways to win payouts from insurance companies, which also had an impact on its poor performance.

Nevertheless, chairman Peter Wood hailed the results as “solid” and said 2014 had been a “disciplined” year.

However, Deutsche Bank downgraded its rating on the stock to a hold. Esure also updated the City on its £95m acquisition of comparison website Gocompare, revealing it will complete the deal by the end of the month.

Shares in the firm closed down 9.11 per cent to 212.50p yesterday.

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