Motor insurance drives rise in premiums at UK

LONDON (Reuters) - British insurer esure Group plc <ESUR.L> reported a 15.9 percent rise in gross written premiums to 499 million pounds for the nine months to the end of September, driven largely by growth in demand for its motor insurance products.

Motor gross written premiums at the insurer were up 18.3 percent to 430.6 million pounds over the period, in its first results since a demerger from comparison site <GOCO.L> on Nov. 3.

Shares in esure, which provides insurance products to drivers, home owners and holiday makers across Britain, were up 1.2 percent at 192.3 pence at 1006 GMT, with Barclays analysts forecasting sustained growth in its key motor insurance segment.

"The pricing environment for motor [gross premiums] remains good, with other motor insurers and industry surveys reporting circa 10 percent increase in pricing over Q3," Barclays analyst Alan Devlin said in a note. Barclays has an "overweight" rating on esure shares.

Esure Chief Executive Stuart Vann said the market for home insurance remained competitive, after the company posted gross written home premiums up 3 percent to 68.4 million pounds.

"This, coupled with the weather costs incurred earlier in the year, mean we continue to manage the portfolio accordingly, not pushing growth when we don't believe it is profitable to do so," he said.

(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; Editing by Sinead Cruise and Mark Potter)

Article Published: 09/11/2016