Covéa Insurance publishes 2019 results

16th April 2020

Covéa Insurance plc has published its financial results for 2019.  The company is reporting a 1.9% increase in gross written premiums to £779.6m, profit after tax of £3.7m, and a combined operating ratio of 103.9%.




Gross written premium



Underwriting (loss)/profit



Profit after tax



Combined operating ratio



 The gross written premium (GWP) and combined operating ratio (COR) by main product line were as follows:




Commercial Lines


Gross written premium





Combined operating ratio





In challenging market conditions, characterised by significant levels of political and regulatory uncertainty, the Company has delivered modest year-on-year premium growth, with increased home and commercial premiums offsetting a reduction in personal lines motor.

The 2019 results have not been adjusted for the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic due to the timing of the outbreak being after the end of the year. 

For the second consecutive year, the personal lines motor market continued to be characterised by flat market premiums and a significantly higher level of claims inflation than has been seen for some time.  The combination of these factors, exacerbated by adverse development on prior year claims, led to a very disappointing underwriting result for the year. 

In contrast, year-on-year premium growth in home, combined with prior year reserve releases and relatively benign weather, contributed to a strong underwriting result and combined operating ratio. 

The commercial lines business also continued to grow, with GWP up 4.5% on the previous year.  A focus on strong underwriting principles and controls, continued investment in products and services, and the development of strong relationships with our key broker partners has underpinned this growth.  The underwriting result for the year was adversely impacted by higher than anticipated attritional claims on the property account and a higher number of large claims.

Finally, protection GWP benefitted from the transfer in of a book of policies from an existing business partner but the underwriting result was adversely impacted by higher than anticipated claims on a range of short-term income protection products launched in 2018.    

Investment market conditions ended the year favourably, enabling the delivery of an overall profit after tax for the year.

Announcing the results, James Reader, Chief Executive, commented:

“Along with the rest of the world, we are currently facing an unprecedented challenge in dealing with the impacts of coronavirus.  My thoughts are first and foremost with all of those who are suffering, which unfortunately includes several members of the Covéa Insurance team and their families.

In this rapidly changing and uncertain environment, I’m incredibly proud of the way that the whole Covéa Insurance team has responded.  Thanks to the exceptional efforts of our operational and technology teams almost all of our people are now working effectively from home, ensuring that we’re able to continue to deliver for our customers and partners in these most challenging of times. We’re also fully supporting the ABI’s commitments to ensure that we adapt to our customers’ changing needs.

With all that has happened over the past few weeks, 2019 already seems a very long time ago.  Nevertheless, we are today announcing our results for the year and it is fair to say that they were disappointing. The motor market has been extremely challenging, due to premiums not keeping pace with the unexpectedly high levels of claims inflation and, as it represents almost 50% of our business, this has had a significant impact on our overall underwriting result.  More positively, we’re pleased with the progress that we continue to make on both commercial lines and home.

Looking to the future, we have ambitious plans for the long-term profitable growth of our business and remain confident in our ability to achieve them.  We are making good progress with our significant investment in a new digital technology platform which, while adding cost in the short term, is imperative to the delivery of those plans.  It will also ensure that we can continue to deliver market-leading levels of customer experience and can become an even better place to work for our people.”




About Covéa Insurance

Covéa Insurance Plc is the UK underwriting business of leading French mutual insurance group Covéa (which includes the global reinsurer PartnerRe since July 2022). 

Covéa Insurance looks after the insurance needs of UK customers, across a range of product lines; delivering financial reassurance through its Standard & Poor’s ‘AA- stable’ rating, as a guaranteed subsidiary of Covéa.  

Covéa Insurance has a strong people and service ethos and holds ServiceMark accreditation with Distinction for its Personal Lines operation and its Commercial & HNW Claims teams, as well as Chartered Insurer status for its Commercial business. Covéa Insurance is signatory to the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter and the insurance Inclusivity Pledge and has been named one of the top 75 employers in West Yorkshire & the Humber. In 2022 Covéa Insurance was named Insurer of the Year at the British Claims Awards and Personal Lines Insurer of the Year at the Insurance Times Awards.

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