Esure's flat Q3 beats expectations with low St Jude storm impact

LONDON (ShareCast) - - Gross written premiums up 1.7 per cent in Q3
- Beats expectations after weak H1
- St Jude's Day storm only 'normal' impact

Insurer esure, owner of the Sheilas' Wheels brand, surprised the market with a better-than-expected 'flat' third quarter and reassurances about the low impact of the St Jude's Day storm.

Gross written premiums at the FTSE 250 group grew 1.7% in the period, with motor insurance expanding at 1.8% ahead of home's 1.3%.

For the year-to-date with means gross written premiums have risen 4.8% to £427m.

Additional services revenue year-to-date grew 0.4% to £79.3m, or up 7.5% when excluding claims income to £72.7m, which Chief Executive Officer Stuart Vann said was proportionately in line with the growth in policy count.

Vann hailed the "broadly flat" results against a backdrop of a still "very competitive" UK motor market.

He said esure remained on track to meet market expectations for the full year and reassured that the estimated cost of the St Jude's Day storm was within "the normal range of anticipated weather" for the fourth quarter.

Motor premium growth reflected management's decision to maintain pricing and underwriting discipline despite the continuing tough conditions.

Esure has focused on retaining existing customers, with an improvement in the overall retention rate compared to the same period last year.

Due to civil justice reform it had continued to cautiously re-enter certain segments of the motor market it had exited between 2009 and 2011 due to concerns at the time about excessive personal injury claims.

Home insurance capability was driven by targeted pricing in the core policy and tactical price reductions in home additional insurance products.

Shares in esure were up 5.7% to 225.5p at 08:30 on Wednesday.