Direct Line Insurance Group plc Half Year Report for the first half of 2016

Direct Line Group’s Half Year Report relates to the six months ended 30 June 2016 and contains information to the date of publication. Income statement comparisons are to 1H 2015, in-force policy numbers are to 30 June 2015 and balance sheet comparisons are to 31 December 2015, unless otherwise stated.

Financial highlights

  • Gross written premium for ongoing operations1 3.9% higher, with strong growth in Motor in-force policies (up 2.5%) and premium rates (up 9.5%)
  • Combined operating ratio1 from ongoing operations continued to be strong at 89.6%, 0.2pts higher, including Flood Re levy impact of 1.6pts. Motor current-year attritional loss ratio1 improved by 1.0pt
  • Operating profit from ongoing operations decreased £12.2m to £323.6m, after £18.5m lower investment gains
  • Return on tangible equity1,2 of 23.1% (1H 2015: 21.2%). Profit before tax decreased £16.5m to £298.5m (1H 2015: £315.0m)
  • Interim dividend per share of 4.9 pence (1H 2015: 4.6 pence) and special interim dividend of 10.0 pence per share
  • Post dividends, the Group’s estimated Solvency II capital3 coverage ratio was 184% (pre-dividends: 199%)

Strategic and operational highlights

  • Continued investment in brand differentiation through enhancements and initiatives to Direct Line and Churchill propositions. In-force policies for Motor and Home own brands up 3.0%, with strong customer retention. Growth in Green Flag direct and Commercial direct
  • Extension agreed with RBS of the Home and Private Insurance partnership for a further three years. This encapsulates an innovative proposition in the market to support the RBS customer-led strategy
  • Well prepared for UK’s referendum on EU membership, immediate investment volatility actively managed and no operational impact
  • Maintains combined operating ratio expectation for 2016 in the range of 93% to 95% for ongoing operations, assuming normal annual weather. If current trends continue, the ratio is expected to be towards the lower end of this range, reflecting improved trading and higher than expected prior-year reserve releases

Paul Geddes, CEO of Direct Line Group, commented

“I am pleased with our results over the first half of 2016, as we delivered an excellent performance against a very strong comparator from the previous year. We have generated operating profits of over £320m in spite of weaker investment markets and the addition of the new Flood Re levy. Our customers continued to respond well to the refreshed propositions of our brands, which is reflected in another increase in the number of our own brands policies. Together, this demonstrates the benefits of the improvements we have made to strengthen our business.

“Although there remains a range of uncertainties in the macro-economic environment, we gain confidence from the strength of this performance, the transformation of the business and the approval of our partial internal model. These factors enabled us to increase the interim dividend to 4.9p and to declare an additional special interim dividend of 10.0p, representing a total payout to shareholders of £204.9m.”

For further information, please contact:

Andy Broadfield
Director of Investor Relations
Tel: +44 (0) 1651 831022

Jennifer Thomas
Head of Financial Communications
Tel: +44 (0) 1651 831686


1. See glossary on page 38 for definitions

2. See appendix A – Alternative performance measures on page 39 for reconciliation to financial statement line items

3. Estimates based on the Group’s Solvency II partial internal model output for 30 June 2016

Forward-looking statements disclaimer

Certain information contained in this document, including any information as to the Group’s strategy, plans or future financial or operating performance, constitutes “forward-looking statements”. These forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, including the terms “aims”, “anticipates”, “aspire”, “believes”, “continue”, “could”, “estimates”, “expects”, “guidance”, “intends”, “may”, “mission”, “outlook”, “plans”, “predicts”, “projects”, “seeks”, “should”, “strategy”, “targets” or “will” or, in each case, their negative or other variations or comparable terminology, or by discussions of strategy, plans, objectives, goals, future events or intentions. These forward-looking statements include all matters that are not historical facts. They appear in a number of places throughout this document and include statements regarding the intentions, beliefs or current expectations of the Directors concerning, among other things: the Group’s results of operations, financial condition, prospects, growth, strategies and the industry in which the Group operates. Examples of forward-looking statements include financial targets and guidance which are contained in this document specifically with respect to the return on tangible equity, the Group’s combined operating ratio, prior-year reserve releases, cost reduction, investment income yield, net realised and unrealised gains, results from the Run-off segment, restructuring and other one-off costs, and risk appetite range. By their nature, all forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainties because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that may or may not occur in the future or are beyond the Group’s control.

Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. The Group’s actual results of operations, financial condition and the development of the business sector in which the Group operates may differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements contained in this document, for example directly or indirectly as a result of, but not limited to, UK domestic and global economic business conditions, the result of the referendum on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, market-related risks such as fluctuations in interest rates and exchange rates, the policies and actions of regulatory authorities (including changes related to capital and solvency requirements or the Ogden discount rate), the impact of competition, currency changes, inflation and deflation, the timing impact and other uncertainties of future acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures or combinations within relevant industries, as well as the impact of tax and other legislation and other regulation in the jurisdictions in which the Group and its affiliates operate. In addition, even if the Group’s actual results of operations, financial condition and the development of the business sector in which the Group operates are consistent with the forward-looking statements contained in this document, those results or developments may not be indicative of results or developments in subsequent periods.

The forward-looking statements contained in this document reflect knowledge and information available as of the date of preparation of this document. The Group and the Directors expressly disclaim any obligations or undertaking to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless required to do so by applicable law or regulation. Nothing in this document should be construed as a profit forecast.

Inside information

Prior to publication, this document contained inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of European Union Regulation 596/2014.

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