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Direct Line Insurance Group plc Half Year Report for the first half of 2018

01.08.18

Successful H1 2018: strategic progress on track

Paul Geddes, CEO of Direct Line Group, commented

“This is a good set of results - growing our own brand policies and profits (normalised for weather) in a competitive, albeit to date, rational market - again showing the strength of our business model. We have also made progress on our strategic initiatives which we believe will improve our competitiveness in each of our channels and we are focused on improving our efficiency. This strategic agenda, combined with our disciplined value over volume focus, gives us the confidence in our outlook, for us to reiterate our financial targets.

“As you will have seen from our announcement today, I will step down as Chief Executive Officer in the summer of 2019. I have been privileged to lead the Group over a long period of transformation. As I approach my tenth anniversary, it is right to put a successor in place to lead the company in the years ahead. In the meantime, we have a very busy and exciting agenda, which I look forward to delivering.”

Results summary

 

H1 2018
£m
H1 20171
£m
Change
Gross written premium 1,610.3 1,694.2 (5.0%)
  Excluding Nationwide and Sainsbury’s2 1,604.6 1,596.6 0.5%
  Of which direct own brands 1,099.0 1,063.9 3.3%
Operating profit 303.1 359.7 (15.7%)
Commission ratio3 6.5% 8.9% (2.4pts)
Expense ratio3 24.4% 24.9% (0.5pts)
Combined operating ratio3 93.0% 88.6% 4.4pts
Profit before tax 293.8 341.4 (13.9%)
Return on tangible equity annualised4 21.8% 26.6% (4.8pts)
Dividend per share – interim (pence)5 7.0 6.8 2.9%
  30 Jun 2018 31 Dec 2017 Change
Solvency capital ratio post-dividend – stimated6 169% 165% 4pts

Highlights

  • Direct own brand premiums up 3.3% driven primarily by continued growth in Motor, also up 3.3% compared to H1 2017. Total Group premiums excluding Nationwide and Sainsbury’s grew 0.5% despite reductions in Motor premium rates.
  • Normalised for weather, operating profit was up slightly; H1 2017 also included £49 million of benefit from revised Ogden reserve releases. The headline decline in operating profit of £56.6 million compared to the prior year is driven by higher weather-related claims (H1 2018: £75.0 million, H1 2017: £9.0 million).
  • Expense ratio down 0.5 percentage points as costs remained broadly stable. Commission ratio lower as the Group’s business mix continued to shift towards direct own brands.
  • Continued positive progress with strategic initiatives including the launch of two further Direct Line differentiating propositions, signing of a new Motor partnership deal and, in July, reaching over 500 trades on the Direct Line for Business platform. Programme to deliver latest generation systems benefiting both business and customers on track.
  • Interim dividend of 7.0 pence, in line with the Group’s policy which aims to grow the dividend in line with business growth.
  • Reiteration of the current financial targets for 2018 and over the medium term: of achieving a combined operating ratio in the range of 93% to 95% adjusted for normal weather and assuming no further change to the Ogden discount rate, supported by reductions in expense and commission ratios. For 2018, the Group expects total investment return in the region of £150 million.

For further information, please contact:

Andy Broadfield Lisa Tremble
Director of Investor Relations Head of External Affairs
Tel: +44 (0)1651 831022 Tel: +44 (0)1651 834211

Notes:

  1. Results for the period ended 30 June 2018 are based on total Group operations including restructuring and Run-off. Comparative data has been re-presented accordingly to include restructuring costs and Run-off profits within Motor segment.
  2. Nationwide and Sainsbury’s exited Home partnerships.
  3. A reduction in the ratio represents an improvement as a proportion of net earned premium, while an increase in the ratio represents a deterioration. See glossary on page 40 for definitions.
  4. See glossary on pages 40 and 41 for definitions and appendix A – Alternative performance measures on page 42 for reconciliation to financial statement line items.
  5. The Group’s dividend policy states its expectation that one-third of the annual dividend will generally be paid in the third quarter as an interim dividend and two-thirds will be paid as a final dividend in the second quarter of the following year.
  6. Estimates based on the Group’s solvency II partial internal model.

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”, “ambition”, “anticipates”, “aspire”, “believes”, “continue”, “could”, “estimates”, “expects”, “guidance”, “intends”, “may”, “mission”, “outlook”, “over the medium term”, “plans”, “predicts”, “projects”, “propositions”, “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, solvency capital ratio, the Group’s combined operating ratio, prior-year reserve releases, cost reduction, reductions in expense and commission ratios, investment income yield, net realised and unrealised gains 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 outcome of the negotiations relating to 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.

Neither the content of Direct Line Group’s website nor the content of any other website accessible from hyperlinks on the Group’s website is incorporated into, or forms part of, this document.

Click here to view the half year results

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