FBD gains market share as target strategy pays off
Quinn insists it was right not to offer uneconomical policy pricing
FBD is now the second biggest player in Ireland's non-health general insurance market after Quinn Insurance suffered its first ever fall in market share.
The industry shake-up is revealed in new figures compiled by the Irish Insurance Federation (IIF), to be released later today.
The market-share rankings are based on the gross written premium taken in by general insurers across all markets excluding health.
The figures show Quinn now has an overall market share of 11.2pc, a deterioration on its 2007 market share of 12.2pc. The fall saw Quinn slip from its second placed ranking in 2007 to fourth place in 2008.
Quinn Insurance boss Colin Morgan yesterday insisted his company was still the second largest general insurer in the country when health insurance, which makes up a substantial percentage of Quinn's income, was included.
On the decline in Quinn's market share in the areas included in the IIF's ranking, Mr Morgan said the insurer "maintained strong underwriting discipline and resisted the temptation to follow some of the uneconomic pricing witnessed in the market last year".
That discipline came into focus earlier this year when Mr Morgan confirmed Quinn had begun increasing its car insurance premiums, ending years of aggressive pricing aimed at driving market share.
An industry source last night said Quinn's revised approach was being replicated across the market. "The profitability in the general insurance market has collapsed over the last 18 months so it's not surprising that under-writing discipline is playing a bigger part," he added.
FBD has now replaced Quinn in the second place of the IIF's league with a market share of 11.6pc, up from 11.3pc a year earlier. The result marks the seventh consecutive rise in market share recorded by the insurer.
The 50-year-old Irish company yesterday said its growth was achieved by "targeting new customer segments, establishing dominant positions in town and villages throughout Ireland, developing new channels though telephone and internet-based initiatives and targeting growth into major urban centres".
FBD has also recently unveiled a new brand identity in line with its increasing focus on the non-farming market.
Hibernian Aviva remains in the top spot, with a share of 19.2.pc. The figure was down from the insurer's 19.9pc share in 2007. Hibernian Aviva boss Stuart Purdy has repeatedly said his company will not pursue growth at the expense of uneconomic premiums.
Elsewhere in the rankings, German insurer Allianz rose to third place having grown its market share from 11.2pc to 11.5pc and Royal Sun Alliance and Axa remained unchanged in fifth and sixth place with respective shares of 10.4pc and 10pc. The remainder of the top eight is made up of Zurich and commercial insurer AIG.