Ageas UK profits hit record high

AGEAS UK, the British arm of the Belgian insurance giant, yesterday announced its best ever results as pre-tax profits jumped 36.4 per cent to £106.7m for the first nine months of this year.

Total income crept up by less than one per cent but a strong underwriting performance allowed profits to surge.

Barry Smith, chief executive of Ageas UK, told City A.M. that his firm has benefited from the decision to focus on profitable areas such as motor cover.

“We’re growing where we see attractive markets and not chasing business where we don’t see growth,” he said. “In domestic property we’ve deliberately increased prices to take into account assumptions on weather events, which has culminated in a reduction in [total] premiums.”

While income from car insurance jumped 15 per cent to £489.7m during the period, household premiums dropped 9.7 per cent to £209.2m.

The fast-growing firm, which already operates a joint venture with Tesco Bank, is in the process of buying French insurer Groupama’s UK business.

Once the deal completes Ageas UK will becomes the fifth largest general insurer in Britain.