Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc announces results for the year ended 31 December 2021

18 March 2022

Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc (“Ecclesiastical”), the specialist financial services group, today announces its full year 2021 results.

Group overview

  • Driven by its purpose to contribute to the greater good of society, the Group achieved its landmark target of giving more than £100m to good causes. Alongside a grant of £21m awarded to its owner Benefact Trust, the Group gave more than £2.5m directly through its own giving programmes. A further £5m was awarded to the Trust in 2022 in respect of 2021 performance.
  • The Group is now the fourth largest corporate donor to charity in the UK1 and has set an ambition to become the biggest in the years ahead.
  • Profit before tax of £77.0m (2020: loss before tax £15.7m), driven by investment returns because of improving market conditions and a good current year underwriting performance.
  • Gross Written Premiums (GWP) grew 11% to £486m (2020: £437m), supported by strong retention and rate increases as well as new business wins.
  • Underwriting profit of £8.8m (2020: profit of £12.1m) thanks to a robust underwriting performance in the UK and Canada.  This result includes a strengthening of reserves in our Australian business and the impacts of some adverse weather events.
  • We remained in a robust and strong capital position with AM Best and S&P affirming our excellent and strong credit ratings.
  • We continued to prioritise the wellbeing of our colleagues and in June we were awarded Best Companies' 2 star accreditation demonstrating 'outstanding' levels of employee engagement.
  • We achieved a record number of external awards, recognising the Group as a trusted and specialist financial services organisation. This included being named as the UK’s most trusted home insurer for the 13th and 14th time by independent ratings agency Fairer Finance, and our Canadian team was named one of the Top Employers for Young People for the ninth consecutive year. Ecclesiastical UK won Digital Insurance Innovation of the Year Award at the British Insurance Awards for Smart Properties, while EdenTree was named Best Ethical Investment Provider at the 2021 Investment Life & Pensions Moneyfacts Awards for the 13th time.

Mark Hews, Group Chief Executive Officer of Ecclesiastical, said:

“2021 was an outstanding year for Ecclesiastical. We reported strong financial performance, a record number of external awards, excellent customer and employee survey feedback, and continued progress on our strategy.

“Most importantly, thanks to the incredible support of our customers, brokers, business partners, colleagues and all our supporters, we achieved our goal of giving more than £100m to good causes. This fantastic achievement has enabled our ultimate parent, Benefact Trust, and ourselves, to give more than 10,000 charitable donations over the past five years.

“After a challenging year in 2020 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, I’m delighted that the Group returned to profit in 2021, reporting a profit before tax of £77.0m (2020: loss before tax of £15.7m). Our positive financial performance was driven by impressive investment returns, as markets bounced back, and a solid underwriting result.

“We delivered Gross Written Premium (GWP) growth of 11% to £486m (2020: £437m) supported by strong retention and new business in the UK and Canada.

“Our award-winning investment management firm EdenTree had another excellent year, achieving record inflows and exceeding fund benchmarks. Our broking businesses also performed above expectation with SEIB reporting a profit before tax of £3.2m (2020: £2.8m).

“Alongside this, we made significant progress on our strategic initiatives, despite the ongoing uncertainty in the external environment. We successfully launched the new Ecclesiastical brand to positive feedback, we opened our new head office in Gloucestershire, and we continued to make investments in new systems and technology to improve the broker and customer experience.

“Our parent group also unveiled its new name - the Benefact Group. The new name for the Group better reflects our diversity, breadth and charitable purpose – it originates from Latin and means “to do well” by supporting a person or good cause. All of the trading brands in the Benefact family will continue to operate under their own names, united in a belief that better business can mean better lives.

“While 2021 was a truly transformational year for Ecclesiastical, we are ambitious to do more. At the end of last year, we unveiled an exciting new vision and strategy that will take the business forward over the next five years. This will see us invest significantly in our businesses, seeking out new opportunities and paths to growth and continuing to innovate for our customers. Our ambition is to be the first-choice insurer in all of our specialist markets and we have the appetite and capacity to achieve our goal.

“By growing our business and generating profits to donate to charity, we are fulfilling our purpose as an organisation committed to the greater good of society. We’re already the fourth biggest corporate donor in the UK and we have an ambition to be the biggest. By the end of 2025 we aim to donate an incredible £250m to good causes.”

1 Directory of Social Change Guide to UK Company Giving 2021/22