October 27, 2017 / 6:23 AM / a year ago

UK insurer Hastings reports rise in 9-month gross written premiums

(Reuters) - British insurer Hastings Group Holdings Plc (HSTG.L) reported a rise in nine-month gross written premiums, as legal changes drove up the cost of motor insurance and policies rose.

The company, which mainly operates in the British motor market, said gross written premiums rose 25 percent to 714.3 million pounds ($938 million) for the nine months which ended Sept. 30.

Policies grew 14 percent to 2.60 million from a year earlier, while net revenue rose 22 percent to 538.3 million pounds in the period.

Hastings’ market share of UK private car insurance stood at 7.2 percent at the end of September, up from 6.4 percent a year earlier.

Hastings, which sells most of its policies via price comparison websites, has reaped gains as higher premiums lead to more customers using such websites.

The average price of motor insurance in Britain jumped 10 percent in the third quarter, taking premiums to their highest level since 2012, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said on Friday.

A government decision this year to cut the personal injury discount rate contributed to a increase in the size of payouts, denting insurers’ profits and lifting premiums to record highs.

However, Britain announced plans last month to change the rate for calculating personal injury payments, a move expected to reduce the size of the payments.

($1 = 0.7615 pounds)

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely

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