Direct Line named Adam Winslow as chief executive officer, ending a months-long search. Penny James resigned as CEO in January after the motor insurer scrapped its final dividend amid ballooning claims. Car insurance is one of the starkest examples of cost inflation in the UK — and experts say the industry faces an overall loss for the year before possibly returning to profitability in 2024.
(Bloomberg) — Direct Line named Adam Winslow as chief executive officer, ending a months-long search. Penny James resigned as CEO in January after the motor insurer scrapped its final dividend amid ballooning claims. Car insurance is one of the starkest examples of cost inflation in the UK — and experts say the industry faces an overall loss for the year before possibly returning to profitability in 2024.
Here’s the key business news from London this morning:
In The City
Direct Line Insurance Group Plc: Winslow, who ran Aviva Plc’s UK and Ireland general insurance business, will join early next year on an annual salary of £820,000.
Prudential Plc: The company plans to more than double its new business profit by 2027 as CEO Anil Wadhwani ramps up his strategy less than a year into the job.
- Prudential reported a 36% jump in new business profit from its insurance operation in the first half, on an actual exchange rate basis, helped by the post-pandemic recovery of mainland Chinese visitors to Hong Kong
UK Insurers: The sector is feeling the heat from a rising claims inflation rate, especially for cars, with industry figures warning that motorists should brace for another year of steep increases in insurance premiums.
- EY predicts insurers will spend £108.50 for every £100 taken in premiums in 2023, a slight improvement but an overall loss. The firm expects to return to profitability in 2024
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly arrived in China on Wednesday, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg, the most senior British diplomatic visitor in six years. With the Biden administration now mending ties with China, the UK has a window for rapprochement.
Meanwhile, a group of UK lawmakers called on the government to enforce clearer and tougher rules on artificial intelligence systems that are trained off the work of artists, writers and other content creators.
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That’s as UK home sales are on track to drop to the lowest since 2012 this year — putting shares of homebuilders like Persimmon Plc and Barratt Developments Plc in focus once again.
Construction company Grafton Group Plc, which owns brands such as do-it-yourself chain Leyland SDM, is among the companies set to report results tomorrow.
The Dublin-based firm’s update in July pointed to resilient trading thanks to diversification, according to Bloomberg Intelligence’s Iwona Hovenko. Still, given the worsening housing and wider construction backdrop, “any shifts in the company’s outlook may be closely watched,” Hovenko says.
For a more considered take on the UK’s economic and financial news, sign up to Money Distilled with John Stepek.
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