IUA reports London company market growth of 16%, largest seen for five years

London skyline

The total premium either written or controlled by the London company market has risen to £26.31bn – a 16% increase for 2017 – according to the International Underwriting Authority's new statistics report.

The gross premium income for the London company market rose to £18.33bn in 2017 – a 14% increase on the previous year, whereas the amount of premium identified as being written in other locations, but overseen and managed in London rose more quickly, now standing at £7.98bn – a 19% increase on the figure for 2016.

Up from £22.73 last year, the £26.31bn total represents a rate of growth not seen in the last five years, though the IUA warned around one-third of the overall increase in premium may be accounted for by improvements made in its data collection operation.

Dave Matcham, CEO of the IUA, said: “We have received multiple reports of companies embarking on new lines of business and growing premium volumes in specific classes as part of dedicated business plans.

“There are also instances of books of business being moved to the UK from other companies within a wider multinational group and of new insurance products being developed and offered to clients.”

Of the 60 members that returned data to the IUA, 43 reported an increase in premium.

The amount of premium written in Europe but controlled in London increased dramatically, almost doubling between 2016 and 2017. The £4.48bn of European premium now controlled and managed in London represents 56% of the London-controlled business written elsewhere.

Commenting on the potential role of Brexit behind the influx of European premium being controlled by the London market, Matcham pointed to members beginning to book business to locations in Europe via Part VII transfers and said that some of the IUA’s members, having set up EU subsidiaries could be “competing more fiercely for EU business than if Brexit hadn’t happened.”

He added that, due to the significant number that have parent companies located in Europe, the question Brexit poses to IUA members is quite different to the one it poses to Lloyd’s.

The most significant class of business in the market in 2017 remained property, which accounts for around 26% of premiums.

Liability and marine classes are the second and third largest, with 17% and 15% respectively, the latter seeing its first increase in premiums for five years, after declining year-on-year since 2013.

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