Insurance giant's earnings soar

INSURANCE giant AXA UK is celebrating “excellent” growth which has seen its half-yearly earnings soar by nearly a third.The firm, which has a 1,300-strong workforce in Ipswich - more than a tenth of its total 12,000 UK staff, saw its underlying earnings grow from £118million in the first half of 2005 to £156million during the last six months.

INSURANCE giant AXA UK is celebrating “excellent” growth which has seen its half-yearly earnings soar by nearly a third.

The firm, which has a 1,300-strong workforce in Ipswich - more than a tenth of its total 12,000 UK staff, saw its underlying earnings grow from £118million in the first half of 2005 to £156million during the last six months.

The company said it had seen “excellent” growth in its UK general insurance revenues, and continued strong growth in its life & savings sector. Its health revenues went up by 8%.

Globally, the company reported strong first half 2006 results, with group underlying earnings up 19% to 2.1billion Euros.


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“AXA's performance in the first half of 2006 marks another successful milestone on our path to Ambition 2012,” said Henri de Castries, chairman of the AXA management board.

“AXA is delivering on its organic growth and profitability objectives in all business segments.”

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In the UK and Ireland, underlying earnings of £156million for the first half of 2006 were 32% ahead, while total general and health insurance revenues increased by 8% at £1.7billion.

This reflected a strong performance in its property insurance sector, with increases in both its personal and commercial lines, which were up 18% and 10% respectively.

Personal motor revenues in the UK were up £30million, helped by its successful introduction of an updated pricing strategy.

In Ireland, revenues were down marginally at minus 1%, reflecting lower average premiums in commercial motors. This was offset by increased new business from young drivers at higher average premiums, along with stronger retention.

Its UK health insurance revenues were up 8% at £476million, with increased volumes across individual and group business in the UK and from UK national living temporarily abroad.

General and health insurance underlying earnings increased by 13% to £124million. Investments and savings new business was up 27%, largely due to sales of unit-linked investment bonds and increased sales of pension products, which were up 28%.

Nicolas Moreau, the incoming group chief executive of AXA UK, expressed his delight at the results.

“I am delighted to be joining AXA UK at a time when we can announce these excellent results which have been achieved through the quality we have across our teams in the UK and Ireland,” he said.

“In order that we continue the momentum achieved over recent years, I am determined that we maintain our pricing discipline while we grow customer share in our chosen markets.

“I am confident that the investments we are making in re-engineering our businesses, along with the innovative enhancements we have introduced to our product range, will ensure that we continue to go from strength to strength.

“We have already announced significant developments to our wealth management proposition and with further innovation planned, I am confident this growth momentum will be maintained.”

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