ERS cements position as leading specialist insurer in a turbulent H1 2020

ERS-H1-2020-financial-results

ERS, the UK’s largest specialty motor insurer has announced its half year results. ERS experienced a decline in GWP of 8% year-on-year to £168m (H1 2019: £183m), almost entirely driven by commercial customers temporarily pausing coverage for their vehicles. At the same time, in its specialist segments including Agriculture, Taxi, Transportation and Prestige, after a strong start to the year, new business enquiries remained steady through the COVID 19 impacted second quarter and were up 5% year-on-year. It also announced a Combined Operating Ratio of 84.9% (H1 2019: 102.8%), leading to a profit for the first half of £28.2m (H1 2019: £3.1m).

“Over the past five months, COVID 19 has tested ERS as it has every business, yet it also demonstrated the strength and resilience of the platform we have built over the past few years,” said Ian Parker, Chief Executive of ERS. “I’m exceptionally proud of the entire ERS team for how we’ve adapted to our new playing conditions over the last few months – we are proud to have supported our brokers and customers through these challenging times.”

ERS’ service-led proposition has continued throughout the pandemic, and the demand for our products and underwriting capability has grown. The importance of A+ rated paper to brokers has also been highlighted through the first six months of the pandemic. According to independent research, an increasing number of brokers think of ERS first when placing a specialist risk, with 42% naming ERS as their first choice, an increase of 7% since last year. Finally, to help brokers trade through the crisis, ERS hosted over one thousand brokers on webinars and launched new features on the eTrade platform.

“Immediately at the start of lockdown, we took specific actions to reflect the challenges our customers were facing,” said Mr. Parker. “We have implemented several price reductions to reflect lower vehicle usage; enabled drivers to make voluntary deliveries; helped keyworkers by waiving accidental damage excesses and provided free courtesy cars; and allowed policyholders to cancel their policies or move them to laid-up cover, all at no cost.”

Operationally, all employees were fully functional and working from home within three days of the announcement that people should work from home if they could. As a result of this flexibility, neither brokers nor customers saw any meaningful drop in service levels. Furthermore, ERS has continued to innovate and invest in its technology capabilities, including implementing and launching new Renewal and MTA features on eTrade to help brokers support their customers quickly online.

“Whilst the half-year results are positive, we expect to see some uncertainty in the remaining half of the year,” added Mr. Parker. The fall in claims frequency has abated as traffic is starting to return to near normal levels and we have continued to see increasing claims inflation through the pandemic. Whatever happens, we believe that our relentless focus on underwriting and investing in our business will enable us, and our clients, to emerge from this crisis stronger.”

Authored by ERS

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