(Alliance News) - Direct Line Insurance Group PLC on Wednesday said its gross written premiums fell at the start of 2021, with its motoring arm "subdued" due to Covid-19.
Direct Line Insurance said gross written premium declined by 4.7% to GBP752.3 million in the first quarter of 2021 from GBP789.6 million a year before.
Motor premiums were down 11% due to fewer new cars and new drivers entering the market during the pandemic. Motor rescue was down 16% due to fewer shopping trips being made, it said.
"The first quarter saw similar motor market trends to those at the end of 2020, namely subdued claims frequency, low levels of new car sales and fewer new drivers entering the market. This led to further motor market premium deflation in the quarter," Chief Executive Officer Penny James said.
However, Commercial premiums rose by 16%, driven by higher sales to small and medium enterprises.
Home insurance premiums were 1.8% higher at GBP140.3 million.
James added: "Elsewhere in the business, we have continued to deliver good growth in Home, whilst Commercial achieved 16% growth. This demonstrates the benefits of our investment in technology and new ways of working as well as the diversification within our portfolio.
"Our journey to build an insurance company of the future is gathering pace and we achieved a significant milestone with Direct Line, Churchill and Privilege now live on our new Motor platform. We also acquired a new auto services repair centre - our 22nd - supporting our competitive advantage in vehicle repairs, which will become increasingly important as more people start driving again."
Direct Line reiterated its aim of achieving a combined operating ratio between 93% and 95%, adjusted for weather, in 2021 and the medium-term.
Direct Line shares were unchanged at 287.00 pence each in London on Wednesday afternoon.
By Eric Cunha; firstname.lastname@example.org
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