Every little helps as Tesco tie-up pushes up earnings at Ageas UK

AGEAS UK, the British arm of the Belgian insurer, yesterday announced a strong set of results boosted by earnings growth at its joint venture with Tesco.

Pre-tax profits for the first half of 2012 hit £64.1m, an increase of 81 per cent on the same period last year while the total combined ratio – a measure of underwriting profit – dipped below the break-even level and hit 98.8 per cent.

Tesco underwriting was responsible for £17.2m of the headline profit, although half of this will go to the supermarket giant.

“The feedback we get from brokers and quality brands is that we continue to deliver,” chief executive Barry Smith told City A.M..

“On private car insurance we have close to 10 per cent of the market share and we just continue to do what we’ve done well in the past.”

Smith has been involved in discussions with the government regarding a new agreement on guaranteed household flood insurance and he remains hopeful that a deal will be struck in the near future.

“It’s important that more work is undertaken during the [parliamentary] recess and we get back around the table in September. There is a willingness to conclude the discussions,” he said.

At a group level Ageas reported net profits of €305m (£242m) for the first six months of the year compared to a net loss of €59m for the same period last year.