Sabre rattled by coronavirus impact

Motor insurer Sabre has seen a 25% dive in new business quotations, a 15% fall in premiums and a significant fall in claims in the wake of the introduction of the UK government’s social distancing measures in late March.

The insurer confirmed the trends as it revealed a 5% dip in gross written premium for the first three months of this year to £43.7m compared to £45.9m for the same quarter last year.

Chief executive officer Geoff Carter commented: “Premium volumes continue to be extremely volatile, driven both by consumer behaviour and competitor pricing activity.

“Since late March, as the full social distancing measures impacted, we estimate that new business quotations in the market have been down by up to 25% on a weekly basis compared to 2019, primarily driven by the lack of car sales. At the end of April, year to date premiums were down around 15%, although we have seen an improvement in premium levels as May has progressed.

“We have continued to see claims frequency reduce significantly throughout late March and April, although traffic does appear to be returning to the roads.”

Carter added that the introduction of price decreases for new and renewal business from late April had resulted in “an increase in the premiums written in recent weeks - starting to reverse the trend seen in April.”

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