Esure’s profits surge as Wood takes charge

HOME and car insurer Esure yesterday said it made £18.8m pre-tax profit in 2010 following a management buyout by Peter Wood, its insurance entrepreneur founder, last February.

The lion’s share of profits came from its 49 per cent stake in comparison website GoCompare, which contributed £10.2m in eight months from April to the end of 2010, accounts showed.

But Esure’s operating results showed Wood had also overseen a turnaround in the core insurance business, to £18.6m earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation in the 2010 calendar year – from just £1.1m in 2009.

In the 11 months from the buyout to the end of 2010 it generated £32.5m operating profit. But before that, it was hit with high claims from harsh winter weather that pushed it to a £13.5m pre-tax loss for the six weeks to 11 February alone.

Esure’s gross written premium in the 11 months of 2010 was £420.8m, of which more than 85 per cent was in motor insurance.

Wood, who founded Direct Line before Esure, has said he wants to ready the company for an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange, but in 2014 at the earliest.