Ageas UK has reported a net profit increase of 17.3% to £49.1m (HY1 2012: £41.9m) in its 2013 first half year results as its combined operating ratio held steady at 98.5% (HY1 2012 98.8%.)
The insurer's total income edged up 2.9% to £1,073.2m (HY1 2012: £1,043.0m) with the inclusion of Groupama Insurances, which was purchased last year, offsetting a ‘tough trading environment'.
Non-Life Gross Written Premiums (GWP) increased by 3.3% to £936.5m compared the same period last year. However, total inflows from the Retail businesses had decreased by 11.6% to £93.0m.
Meanwhile, Ageas Protect continued to grow with total GWP inflow increasing by 38.5% to £43.7m (HY1 2012 £31.6m).
Ageas attributed the growth in the protection business to its underwriting and technology, service levels and several products launched in the first half of the year.
The GWP growth continues to reflect the company's progress in building customer numbers and now protects over 286,000 lives, an increase of 27% over the same period last year, it said.
Despite this, new Annual Premiums decreased by 7.4% to £15.8m (HY1 2012 £17.1m.)
The insurer said these results reflected a "continued subdued market" following Gender Pricing and tax changes at the close of last year and distribution changes brought about following the implementation of the Retail Distribution Review.
Ageas Protect had a post -tax result of (£1.3)m compared to £(0.0)m for the same period last year in line with expectations, recognising the costs of financing the growth of the business and a competitive market.
Darren Spriggs, managing director of Ageas Protect said: "We're pleased with the continued progress we're making in the protection market, having now been trading for five years, and the support we receive from our intermediary partners.
"We have certainly seen a subdued market during the first half of the year as a result of the RDR, gender pricing and tax changes.
"For Ageas our focus has remained on building our intermediary proposition and expanding our product portfolio to include business protection, personal life of another and more recently access to bereavement support for children through a partnership with Winston's Wish."