GA improves 24% despite US losses

NIC CICUTTI

General Accident, one of the UK's largest composite insurers, has reported a 24 per cent increase in pre-tax tax profits, despite continuing underwriting losses in the United States and the absence of a recovery in the UK housing market.

Barrie Holder, deputy chief executive, confirmed that the company's strategy will be based on both organic growth and potential acquisitions.

"We are always interested in looking at new business opportunities," he said. "If there were any predictions for future growth, it would be on the life side. Where acquisitions are concerned, it might be Asia and other territories in which we expect business to grow significantly."

The company's interim profits for the first six months of 1995 were pounds 253.6m, compared with pounds 204m in the same period last year.

GA also predicted that motor insurance premiums in Britain would begin to rise within the next year, although they would probably continue at their present levels for another six months. Household insurance premiums will continue to fall.

Nelson Robertson, GA's group chief executive, said: "We have achieved a further and substantial improvement in our operating performance. There has been another good result in the UK, and we are encouraged that profitability has been maintained despite a further increase in competitive pressures during this period.

"We believe that motor rates have levelled out. When things level out, they cannot stay like that forever and it is rare for them to go back down again. In the UK, motorists have had a good run for their money."

Mr Robertson echoed other composite insurers, including Commercial Union and Guardian Royal Insurance, in stating GA's determination not to hold on to market share at the cost of a premium free-for-all.

Elsewhere, the company's UK life operation bucked the trend and reported an increase in single-premium income, which rose from pounds 251m in the first half of 1994 to more than pounds 559m in the first six months of this year.

However, nearly all of this increase was due to the successful launch of a GA guaranteed bond in March and April.

New annual premiums fell pounds 6m to pounds 21.3m in the first half, partly due to a fall in the amount of housing-related endowment business and continuing problems with lack of consumer confidence over personal pensions.

In the UK, General Accident's estate agency chain ran up losses of pounds 8.5m, compared with pounds 5.3m in the first half of 1994. But the company claimed that despite an 8 per cent fall in the number of sales through GA Property Services - down to 16,000 over the past six months - it had still improved its market share.

In the United States, the company gained from favourable weather claims but suffered heavily from involuntary policy claims, where US insurance law meant the company was allocated thousands of poor risks. Losses from the US personal car insurance market rose from $24m to $38m.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam