South West insurer Cornish Mutual has reported turnover and profit growth for 2016 as the company’s focus on personal relationships, high standards of customer service and attractive pricing has helped weather challenging trading conditions for its core farming membership and the wider UK insurance industry.
Turnover (or gross written premiums) saw modest growth to £20.8 million (2015 £20.6 million). As with many years the net insurance side of the business reported a small loss but this was more than covered by returns on investments held by the Group, resulting in overall profit before tax for the year of £1.587 million (2015 £0.788 million).
Members’ Funds, the total capital of the company, increased to £20.4 million (2015: £20 million).
In line with its vision of being the Rural Insurance Provider of Choice in the South West, Cornish Mutual has continued to focus on exceptional service provision, investing in its staff, supporting the communities in which it operates and delivering sustainable growth charging fair, stable and competitive premiums.
Ian Pawley, Cornish Mutual’s chairman, said: “In 2016 we saw our core farming Membership under considerable pressure from cost volatility and falling prices. Insurance remains a very competitive market and 2016 saw the introduction of the Solvency II regulatory regime which has added cost into the business and made demands on management time. Against this background, the profit before tax of £1.587m is a good result.
“Cornish Mutual exists to provide general insurance services to the rural community of the four counties of the South West of England and we continue to focus on activities which will deliver quality service and at the same time will deliver against our objectives as a mutual organisation owned by and operated for the benefit of its Members.”
Highlights of the year for the company include a series of successful free health and safety events held across the region, with more than 1,000 farmers attending. The events won Best Campaign in the Public Interest at the third annual Public Interest Awards, run by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). The Insurer also continued its longstanding support of the Young Famers, donating £25,000 to The Devon Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (YFC) to support their fundraising efforts for a brand new headquarters.
Image: Ian Pawley, Cornish Mutual’s chairman, outside the company's new Devon office.