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Youi plans expansion as earnings rise

Youi Australia aims to add commercial insurance and compulsory third party cover to its product line-up following another encouraging set of earnings results.

The Australian operation’s headline earnings grew 30% to $26 million in the half-year to December 31, and net earned premium increased 10.3% to $310 million.

The combined operating ratio improved to 89.4% from 91.3%, but the claims ratio worsened to 59.2% from 58.4% because of higher natural peril claims, according to South African parent Outsurance Holdings.

Efforts to improve efficiencies and scale strengthened the cost-to-income ratio to 30.1% from 32.9% in the corresponding period of 2015.

“Favourable weather and a lack of natural catastrophe events have resulted in a soft pricing environment and an absence of consumers shopping around for lower premiums,” Outsurance Holdings says. “Youi’s disciplined underwriting and sophisticated claims management capabilities position the business favourably to take advantage of a price-hardening cycle.”

The brand’s image has taken a hit in Australia and New Zealand over its sales tactics, including billing customers for unsolicited policies, but it remains committed to growing the business in the two markets.

“As part of our drive to accelerate Youi’s growth rate, we [are] exploring opportunities in the compulsory third party… and commercial insurance markets,” Outsurance says.

Youi’s New Zealand operation, established in August 2014, narrowed its loss to 35 million rand ($3.6 million) from 70 million rand ($7.1 million).

Its net earned premium surged 65% to 33 million rand ($3.4 million).

Youi Group, comprising the Australia and New Zealand business, grew its headline earnings by 81.8% to $20 million, and net earned premium increased 15.9% to $313 million.

Youi accounted for 46% of Outsurance’s revenue in the half-year to December 31.

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