The Prince’s Foundation
Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc (“Ecclesiastical”), the specialist financial services group, today announces its 2021 interim results.
Mark Hews, Group Chief Executive Officer of Ecclesiastical, said:
“After a challenging year in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m delighted that the Group has made an excellent start to 2021 and reports a profit before tax of £46.5m (H1 2020: loss before tax £59.7m). Our decision to hold to our long-term investment strategy was validated as financial markets recovered from the lows of last year, helping us to deliver impressive investment returns and outperform the indices for most asset classes. We remain in a robust and strong capital position with AM Best and S&P affirming our excellent and strong ratings.
“In the UK and Canada, our GI businesses have reported robust growth due to rate increases, solid retention and new business. In Australia, we have strengthened our reserving following a rise in historic liability claims in the first half of the year. This has resulted in an overall underwriting performance of £2.5m (H1 2020: underwriting loss £1.3m).
“Increasing investor confidence saw strong inflows of money into our award-winning investment management business EdenTree. Bolstered by new recruits, EdenTree maintained its reputation as one of the leading responsible and sustainable investment firms with the launch of three new funds in July.
“With an ambition to grow our business to give more to those in need, the Group has remained committed to supporting charities and communities throughout the pandemic and we’re proposing to make a donation to our charitable owner in the weeks ahead. We launched our third annual Movement for Good awards, which will see us give £1m to charities across the UK and Ireland. On behalf of all our charitable beneficiaries, I would like to thank all those who continue to support the Group’s work.
“The first half of 2021 continued to be a challenging period for our colleagues and customers due to the ongoing pandemic restrictions. I’m proud of the way our teams across the business have continued to show great resilience and adaptability to deliver for our customers, brokers and communities. For the first time in May, we ran the b-Heard survey to give colleagues an opportunity to have their say on working at Ecclesiastical. I’m delighted that we were awarded Best Companies' 2 star accreditation demonstrating 'outstanding' levels of employee engagement. As we return to a more normal way of life, we will continue to prioritise the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees as we embrace new and more flexible ways of working.
“The easing of restrictions and the improving economic conditions are helping many of our customers recover from the financial impact of successive lockdowns and we are settling the small number of business interruption claims, where cover exists, as quickly as possible.
“We continue to make good progress against our strategic priorities. We launched a new visual identity for the Ecclesiastical Insurance brand and opened our head office in Gloucestershire, which is now welcoming colleagues with flexible ways of working. We are also continuing to invest in new systems to improve our efficiency and enhance the customer experience.
“As a responsible insurer, we are not only supporting and protecting customers, but we are also building our climate change commitments for the long-term too. We’ve been members of voluntary initiative ClimateWise for a number of years, and have established a climate strategy group that is considering how we can best respond to the climate crisis. Already, as part of our strategy we have committed to managing our portfolio of investments in a responsible and sustainable way. In January of this year, we adopted a new investment strategy that not only avoids investment in businesses that cause social harm but also proactively seeks to invest in markets that have positive impacts, as well as considering environmental, social and governance factors in every investment case.
“Another way we support our climate change commitments is by helping our customers reduce their impact through our risk management advice and guidance. We recently launched our Ecclesiastical Smart Properties proposition, which uses cutting-edge technology to protect properties. This technology not only protects customers from fires and escape of water, but can also help to save money and reduce the building’s carbon footprint as well.
“Looking ahead, I’m excited about the future of the business. In the UK, we are investing significantly and have the appetite and capacity to grow across all the sectors we operate in, with an ambition to be the first choice for brokers placing business in our specialist markets. 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.”