General Insurance Article - A special year and a good performance for NFU Mutual

 NFU Mutual, the UK's leading rural insurer, announces its financial results and centenary highlights for

 2010.Financial performance

  •   NFU Mutual made a pre-tax profit of £159m (2009: £366m).
  •   Total funds under management increased to £12.4bn.
  •   General Insurance premium income increased to £1,205m in 2010 (2009: £1,066m).
  •   Life total premium income rose by 9% compared to 2009.
  •   Risk Management Services business saw growth of 40%.
  •   Higher liability claim payouts contributed significantly to an underwriting loss of £150m (2009: £118m) but this was better than planned.
  •   NFU Mutual's operating expense ratio remains below 20% - one of the best in the industry.
  •   "Mutual Bonus" paid out £194m to members during 2010.

 External recognition

  •   NFU Mutual topped the Which? reader surveys for customer service on its Home and Car insurance products.
  •   The company achieved more Defaqto 5 star awards than any other insurer.
  •   NFU Mutual was voted ‘Top Motor Insurer' by readers of Auto Express magazine for the fifth year in a row.
  •   NFU Mutual was voted ‘Best Home Insurance Provider for Service' by readers of Moneywise magazine.
  •   The Mutual won ‘Best Life Insurance Provider' at the Personal Finance Awards 2010/2011 as nominated by readers of

 Support for farming and the rural community

  •   Contributions to the National Farming Unions totalled £6m.
  •   The NFU Mutual Charitable Trust donated over £270,000 to a range of charities in 2010 - many linked to farming and the rural community.
  •   The Centenary Award scheme was launched providing £250,000 to pay course fees for selected postgraduate agricultural students.

 Commenting on the insurer's annual results and its centenary year, Lindsay Sinclair Group Chief Executive of NFU Mutual, said:

 "We are very proud of our heritage and to be celebrating our 100th year. Every year brings its own challenges and 2010 was no exception, but we continued to show strong growth in our Life and General businesses. We have an extremely loyal customer base with 93% of our customers renewing with us, while word of mouth referrals continue to bring in new business as our members spread the good news about NFU Mutual.

 "As a successful growing company we continue to expand and invest in our future. NFU Mutual opened, relocated or refurbished 34 offices last year, reflecting our commitment to providing a local service to those living and working in the countryside.

 "We operate in a very competitive market and therefore must ensure we maintain a strong focus on cost efficiency. We saw underwriting losses of £150m last year as a result of a number of factors including two significant cold snaps, the floods in Cornwall, an increase in the cost of large losses and increases in claims costs. Having said that, the total loss was better than planned and we remain on target to return our underwriting result back into profit in 2012.

 "NFU Mutual Risk Management Services makes an important contribution to reducing our loss ratios and claims costs, but there is an additional ‘human side' to managing claims, particularly in the farming arena. Agriculture is now the UK's most dangerous occupation according to Health and Safety Executive figures.

 "Our Farm Safety Awareness campaign - launched in 2010 - set about helping farmers reduce the incidence of farming related accidents and, in turn, the number of claims. While our major claims initiative to tackle the increasing problem of tractor thefts has already demonstrated good results, having returned over £1 million in just twelve months.

 "In addition, our market leading rehabilitation programme helped 364 people to resume work, regain mobility or maximise their independence. Rehabilitation can speed up the recovery process of seriously injured people by enabling employees to return to work quickly and safely, thereby reducing the cost of claims and helping policyholders to keep their businesses profitable.

 "NFU Mutual has become part of the fabric of rural life.  Our philosophy sits at the heart of this and remains unchanged since we began back in 1910 - we continue to provide our members with the cover they need, at a fair price and with a first-class personal service"

 The 2010 Annual Report and Accounts for NFU Mutual can be found at from 21st April 2011.

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