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Click closure costs Ageas £5.6m

Ageas Protect has been hit by a one-off impairment charge of £5.6m related to a subsidiary of non-advised protection firm Click going into liquidation earlier this year.

Money Marketing revealed in May that Fortis Life, which rebranded as Ageas Protect in January, was owed £900,000 in clawback by Click. The owed clawback was part of a payment plan to repay £1.2m of indemnity commission on lapsed policies.

Click cut over 50 jobs in its Manchester and Farnham offices in November as part of a company restructure that saw Click pull back from its term assurance offering.

The company made a further 80 job cuts in January with the closure of its general insurance business, with staff receiving no pay or commission for December.

It is understood subsidiary Click Financial went into liquidation in February this year.

As a result Ageas Protect suffered an impairment charge of £5.6m, pushing its 2010 results down 42 per cent from a pre-tax loss of £7.2m in 2009 to a loss of £10.2m at the end of 2010.

Managing director Martin Werth (pictured) says: “In the nature of indemnity commission, when a distributor goes out of business, you cannot clawback commission on lapsed policies.

“As a result we had to take an impairment charge, but we took the whole impairment charge for all expected lapses as well as lapses that have happened.”

Despite the loss, new annual premiums for Ageas Protect for 2010 are up 52 per cent from £14.9m to £22.7m.

At December 31, 2010, Ageas Protect had a 6.4 per cent IFA market share, compared to 4.3 per cent at the end of 2009.

The Ageas Protect business launched in July 2008. It now provides cover to over 120,000 customers, an increase of 90 per cent compared to last year.

Overall, Ageas UK made a loss of £24.8m, including costs from claims related to bad weather and acquisition costs of Kwik Fit Insurance Services.

Excluding bad weather events and one-off costs, Ageas UK made a pre-tax profit of £51.5m, compared to £17.3m in 2009.

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Comments

There are 11 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. how was this company allowed to trade with this amount of policies lapsing in first few years. Ageas who have a very good product should be supporting IFA more then they would get quality business.

  2. Just proves that Non Advised does not work and should not be allowed

  3. Every IFA should ask every provider whether they support telphone based non-advised selling of any sort. If they don’t give a clear NO, we should do everything an IFA can to stop the provider doing this, because it is just serves consumers awfully. I tried and failed with Ageas for years, but now that the story is out, all providers should surely see that this route is as bad for consumers as so many of us have been saying for years. I think the ABI should give us its views asap too.

  4. I agree wholeheartedly with Tom apart from the fact that I also believe in personal freedom. God knows we have little enough of it in this industry.

    Like Lifesearch I gain clients who have previously been rogered by the non-advised route – the premium chasers and the sloppy product pushers.

    However, we as consumers must be given choices and if consumers willingly engage with these bucket shop practitioners then so be it. We cannot and should not nanny the consumer. After all, if I want to be feckless and financially irresponsible then it’s my right, however catastrophic it may prove.

  5. David Anderson 9th March 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Ageas have got exactly what they deserve. Any one who cared to look could see the risks in the Click business model. They must have failed to do the appropriate due dilligence and ended up massively exposed. Its not bad luck or just one of those things, Its incompetence and with losses like that one has to question their ability to stay in the market.

  6. I knew from the beginning that Click were a bunch of cowboys. I worked opposite their offices and saw the calibre of their mainly young, cocky,commissioned, pumped-up staff, taking fag breaks. It was sell, sell, sell and don’t worry about the clawbacks. A sure sign of a dodgy company is whether they are always advertising for staff – yes, you’ve guessed it, they were and even their recruitment company was left owed money by Click. How the FSA allows companies like this to exist is beyond me!

  7. Gillette Contour 9th March 2011 at 5:51 pm

    @Tom

    If you tried and failed for years with the providers, perhaps that’s a telling sign and you may want to move on? With your charm you’d have more luck persuading Test-Achats to rethink things.

    Insurers clearly like the business that comes in from the non-advised channels, the majority of which is good and shouldn’t be tarred with the same brush that you use for Click.

  8. pete wildebeast 10th March 2011 at 9:14 am

    A salutory lesson.

  9. I think that Tom and Alan should stop blowing smoke up each others ars*s! Networks and the FSA are pushing us dont the Non-Advised route due to the restrictions and paperwork that are placed on us, Click’s business model obviously failed but there are many other companies compliantly selling protection under a non-advised basis, they are making a fortune which is why Tom and Alan have always got the hump! Deal with it.

  10. @Tom

    The fact that advice has/hasn’t been given, has absolutely NO bearing on quality.
    You only peddle this garbage for your own personal gain!
    The wholly unsuitable sub-prime Mortgage market, self cert, PPI & various investment products (Barclays) have all been pushed by fully qualified advisors!
    There are many advisors who place clients with whichever provider takes them to play golf the most.. plus they re-broke every 2 years on the basis of a review – it just happens to be just outside the indemnity period.. strange?

    Clients these days are far more savvy & there are plenty of great sites/companies giving all the information for a client to make an informed choice!
    There is no need to treat clients in such a condescending way – they’re more than capable of making good choices themselves!

  11. I find it hilarious how Tom you take this moral high ground over Click. Two points:

    1. Lifesearch does not provide a good quality service to it’s clients, it simply hard up sells in the thinly veiled pretence at giving advice.

    2. It was not so long ago that you worked on a project with 1st The Exchange called ‘getliferight.co.uk’. Not only was it a complete flop, but the money you raised from the providers to help finance this, you ended up just reinvesting into Lifesearch, much to the anger of the providers – a scandal that few in the industry ever found out about.

    So in short Tom, get your own house in order before you start on others…

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