Iprism growth on track after restructure, says MD Ian Lloyd

Young green shoot

Iprism Underwriting Agency is growing its underwriting and bottom line profits after its restructure last year despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to managing director Ian Lloyd.

The owners of the managing general agent restructured the business at the end of 2019 writing off £82m of shareholder loans and interest. The process left private equity firm Bowmark Capital, which had bought the company outright in 2013, retaining a significant equity stake in the operating company and Iprism’s management also involved.

Lloyd revealed to Post that there had been strong growth in many core lines of business, most notably construction, a trend that had start around 18 months ago.

He listed the MGA’s per capita rated tradesman and wage roll/turnover rated contractors’ combined products as particularly strong performers.

“Our property owners and high net worth home propositions are also lines we’ve seen perform excellently,” he confirmed.

“We’ve expanded our underwriting footprint and capability considerably over the period allowing us to better support brokers with those cases that cannot be e-traded simply. Our focus remains on profitable and sustainable growth, not necessarily volume.”

The comments came as the firm posted turnover of £8.15m for the year ended 30 June 2019 in a filing at Companies House.

The previous reporting period was for 18 months due to the business working on its change programme which means an “impact on the comparability of certain numbers” the company accepted.

The latest figures included gross written premium through Eaton Gate of £1.04m. This was down on £10.1m previously. It came after Iprism cut its ties with the business in 2018 and was due to run-offs.

Separately, the MGA has also previously reported that it would not use unrated capacity.

“Iprism remain fully committed to exclusively placing business with UK regulated, rated capacity providers,” Lloyd confirmed.

“We are backed by some of the UK’s largest A-rated carriers. The commentary in the filing relates to the run-off of business placed with A-rated capacity via a connected party. This connection no longer exists. We do not have any business placed with un-rated capacity and haven’t for many years, any historic books are long closed.”

Though the group restructuring including the administration of the holding company took place in October last year the business included the costs in its latest results.

Accordingly, the £934,825 of exceptional items pushed the business to a loss of £761,988 – around the same as its profit the period before.

“The records show that our underlying business was profitable, through strong GWP growth and robust management oversight,” Lloyd highlighted.

“The overall figures relate to exceptional, non-recurring costs and are in line with expectations following the restructure communicated in 2019. Our balance sheet and cashflow are strong and the outlook for the business remains positive despite the current economic environment.”

Looking to the future he accepted that the coronavirus pandemic was a major unknown factor for businesses up and down the country.

“So far, it’s not been a significant issue for us from a business perspective and our people are thankfully well and healthy,” he reported.

“Aside from this, we are maintaining the underwriting and bottom-line growth we planned and despite the current circumstances, remain on track with our projections for 2020.”

He confirmed that the MGA had been able to switch to homeworking in a straightforward manner describing it as “simply a case of asking staff to take their laptops home”.

Lloyd concluded: “Broker service is key to our proposition, we’re proud to have been able to maintain our normal levels of service to our broker partners and the business impact has so far been minimal.”

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