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Direct Line Insurance reports mixed third quarter

Total gross written premium for the three months to end-September was down 0.8% on this time last year

Direct Line Insurance -

Direct Line Insurance Group PLC (LON:DLG) reported a slight decrease in written premiums in the third quarter but said underwriting this year is likely to be slightly ahead of target.

Total gross written premiums for the FTSE 250-listed group of £851.5mln for the three months to end-September was down 0.8% on this time last year, despite a return to strong growth in commercial insurance and some improvement in motor and home insurance brands.

READ: Direct Line proposes special dividend to make up for cancelled 2019 distribution

Motor damage severity was ahead of its long-term average, though this has been more than offset claims frequency remaining below pre-Covid-19 levels.

In home insurance, the group reported improved competitiveness on price comparison websites (PCWs), offset by a reduction in partnership gross written premium as these schemes are run-off.

Commercial growth was driven by a recovery in SME trading on the Direct Line for Business platform, which reached a peak in July following the easing of lockdown restrictions, and the presence of the Churchill brand across all four main PCWs.

Chief executive Penny James said: “Our transformation continues to progress with the recent migration to a new mainframe platform and our trading and change teams are now working in a fully agile way.

“Both are a key part of our strategy to offer our customers better value and choice by unlocking our ability to be more innovative and enable us to move faster to market with our products.”

Looking forward, she said Direct Line and Churchill remain scheduled to start to roll-out on our new motor platform this year, albeit with a “more measured approach” to implementation.

Quick facts: Direct Line Insurance

Price: 329.5 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £4.46 billion

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