Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc announces results for the year ended 31 December 2023

22 March 2024

Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc (“Ecclesiastical”), the specialist financial services group*, today announces its 2023 full year results**.

Financial highlights

  • Overall profit before tax of £44.8m (2022: loss of £15.6m), boosted by an investment result of £57.5m profit (2022: £63.4m loss). Our strong capital position and long-term investment approach allows us to withstand short-term volatility in markets.
  • Our insurance businesses reported a positive set of results in 2023. Gross written premiums (GWP)*** rose 10.1% to £615.0m from £558.6m in 2022, driven by new business wins and supported by strong retention and rate strengthening.
  • We reported an underwriting profit*** of £24.5m (2022: £31.5.m), despite our biggest single loss in the UK with the devastating fire at St Mark’s Church in London and deterioration in prior year liability claims. This result benefited from strong growth and lower-than-expected claims in the latter part of the year.
  • Capital position remains strong with AM Best and Moody's ratings remaining stable. Our Solvency II regulatory capital position remains well above both regulatory requirements and our internal risk appetite.

Key achievements

  • In respect of 2023 performance, Ecclesiastical will have donated £24.0m to charity and good causes as part of its continued mission to contribute to the greater good of society. This brings the total amount given to good causes since 2014 to £222.2m. Our immediate parent company, Benefact Group, the UK's third largest corporate giver****, has set a target to give £250m by the end of 2025.
  • Ecclesiastical UK successfully launched into the Leisure sector as part of its growth plans to move into new adjacent sectors, with more sectors planned for 2024. In 2024, it will expand its appetite in Leisure and enter another new and exciting adjacent sector.
  • Ecclesiastical UK continues to lead the industry in service with 98% of customers satisfied with the service they receive from Ecclesiastical. For a third year running, independent research consultancy Gracechurch put Ecclesiastical ahead of all other insurers for claims service.
  • Ecclesiastical UK was recognised as a world-class employer by Best Companies.
  • Our insurance businesses continue to be recognised with prestigious awards including: First Place Gold Ribbon for the eighteenth consecutive time (Fairer Finance); 'Outstanding' Service Quality Marque for the third consecutive year (Gracechurch Claims Monitor); Specialist Insurance Company of the Year (British Insurance Awards); Claims Product Solution of the Year - Insurer (Insurance Times Claims Excellence Awards); and a Top Employer for Greater Toronto for the fifth consecutive year.

Mark Hews, Group Chief Executive Officer of Ecclesiastical, said:

“Despite challenging conditions, we delivered a strong performance in 2023 and we are on track to double our contribution, which will allow us to give even more to good causes. As a Group, we reported a profit before tax of £44.8m, with resilient performances across our three divisions. This compares well with the overall group loss before tax of £15.6m reported for the prior year.

“In General Insurance, we reported an underwriting profit of £24.5m, despite our biggest single loss in the UK with the devastating fire at St Mark’s Church in London. This result has benefited from strong growth and lower-than-expected claims in the latter part of the year. Gross written premiums (GWP) rose by over 10% to £615.0m. This is thanks to strong retention across our territories and record new business in the UK as we launched into the Leisure sector. Our combined operating ratio rose to 92.6% due to headwinds from prior year claims.

“In 2023, thanks to the support of our customers, brokers, business partners and colleagues, Benefact Group reached the milestone of giving more than £200m to good causes since 2014. This level of giving means that Benefact Group is the third largest corporate donor to charity in the UK, and we are on track to achieve our ambition of giving £250m by the end of 2025.

“Our ultimate charitable parent company, Benefact Trust, is one of the biggest grant-making charities in the UK, and the Board approved a donation of £21m to them in respect of the Group’s 2023 performance, of which £13m was paid in year and the remaining £8m to be paid in due course, to support its work providing transformative funding to charities both in the UK and abroad. We thank them for their outstanding work.

“We wouldn’t be able to deliver these results without the hard work of all our teams across the whole Benefact Group. We delivered so much together in 2023 and I would like to thank our colleagues for their efforts last year. Our charitable purpose drives our values, culture, ethics and ethos and inspires us to make a real difference for our brokers, customers, and communities. This was reflected in multiple award wins in 2023, which recognised our businesses as trusted specialists in their markets.

“Our ambition is to build a world-class team and I’m delighted that we continue to achieve market-leading employee engagement scores in our independently run B-heard surveys. I’m proud that Ecclesiastical UK was recognised as a world-class employer and during 2023, was named by Best Companies as “UK Insurance’s Number 1 Company to Work For” in their independent league tables. This shows we’re making good progress, and we remain focused and committed to building an inclusive culture where each and every colleague feels valued, respected and treated fairly. In short, we aim to provide life changing careers that change lives.

“After a strong 2023, we move into 2024 with renewed ambition and drive to grow the business so we can give even more to good causes. We will continue to invest in our capabilities so that we can strengthen our position as a trusted specialist in our markets, and drive forward our growth plans, through new segments, new methods of distribution and greater efficiency.

* The ‘Group’ refers to Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc together with its subsidiaries. The ‘Benefact Group’ and ‘wider group’ refers to Benefact Group plc, the immediate parent company of Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc, together with its subsidiaries. The ‘Benefact Trust’ and ‘the Trust’ refers to Benefact Trust Limited, the ultimate parent undertaking of Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc.

** 2022 comparatives have been restated following the adoption by the Group of IFRS 17 Insurance Contracts from 1 January 2023.

*** The Group uses Alternative Performance Measures (APMs) to help explain performance. More information on APMs is included in note 10 to this announcement.

**** Directory of Social Change’s The Guide to UK Company Giving 2023/24