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Ageas UK profits drop 50 per cent

Ageas UK has posted a 50 per cent slump in pre-tax profits for the first nine months of the year from £33.2m to £16.6m.

The insurer, formerly known as Fortis, was hit by £7.7m in set-up the costs of its partnership with Tesco Bank. Ageas owns 50.1 per cent of Tesco Underwriting, the new insurance business with Tesco Bank which began writing business in October.

Ageas was also impacted by £4.3m in acquisition costs for Kwik Fit Insurance Services.

Fortis Life, Ageas’ UK protection business, made a pre-tax loss for the year to September 30, 2010 of £3.3m, an improvement of 46 per cent from the £6.1m loss it made at this time last year. Fortis Life was launched in July 2008.

New annual premiums at Fortis Life rose 60 per cent from £10.2m to £16.3m.

Based on this year’s figures from the Association of British Insurers Fortis Life has a 5.1 per market share of the UK IFA market.

Fortis Life now provides cover to 100,000 customers, up 41 per cent from 63,000 this time last year.

The company receives 700 applications per day, and says immediate decisions are given for approximately 70 per cent of applicants.

Fortis Life will rebrand to Ageas in January 2011.

Ageas UK chief executive Barry Smith (pictured) says: “These results demonstrate that we continue to grow and progress right across the business, strengthening our position in our chosen markets. Notwithstanding a tough 2010, our performance has improved quarter by quarter which is really encouraging.

“On our rebrand to Ageas, I am delighted by the reaction of the market and that the values Fortis stood for – high customer service, quality delivery and doing what we say we will do – continue to resonate with our brokers, clients and customers.”

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