Admiral reinstates dividend alongside ‘strong’ H1 results

Admiral has announced that group turnover fell by 4% to £1.69bn in the first half of the year, largely due to the impact of Covid-19, as well as its Stay at Home premium refund.

Nonetheless, the insurer reported pre-tax profits of £286.7m, rising 30% against the £220.2m reported the year before. 

This was primarily the result of “strong” prior year reserve releases in the UK and internationally, as well as some non-recurrence of negative items in 2019, including the £33m Ogden discount rate impact.

In addition, customer numbers in the period were 6% higher at 7.17 million, up from 6.74 million the year before.  

Across its divisions, UK Insurance saw a “significant” profit growth of £59.1m, primarily attributable to “favourable development” in prior year loss ratios for UK Motor, and higher investment income.

Whilst the division also recorded a 7% reduction in turnover to £1.25bn, customer numbers grew from 5.32 million to 5.58 million.

UK Household profit improved rose from £4.2m to £5.5m, despite bad weather which impacted the current period by around £5.3m.

In addition, international insurance businesses made a combined profit of £6.5m against the £2.7m loss reported in the first half of 2019, with continued profit in the European operations and lower losses in the US.

Nonetheless, the “unprecedented” impact of Covid-19 affected interim results across all businesses, with lockdown resulting in “significantly lower” motor insurance claims frequency as customers stayed at home

Admiral also paused sales of Travel insurance and lending products in March, cautiously re-entering both markets in the second half of 2020.

In total, quote volumes saw a slowdown in early lockdown, but have recovered “strongly” in most markets as lockdown restrictions eased. 

Following its results, its deferred special dividend from the full year 2019 results will be paid alongside the 2020 interim dividend. 

CEO David Stevens said: “A year ago I described our results as ‘frankly a bit dull’. With the benefit of hindsight there’s a lot to be said for ‘dull’ if the alternative is a global pandemic. Our response to that pandemic highlighted two of Admiral’s key strengths – competent execution in the short term and sustainable values for the long term. 

“This year’s interims benefit again from our consistently competent underwriting and conservative reserving on past years, feeding into another strong set of results in the core business and beyond.”

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