2020 was a year of change and adaptation for most businesses, at Co-op Insurance we knew change was on the horizon long before we started hearing about the pandemic as we’d announced the sale of CISGIL (our underwriting business) and the future long term distribution partnership with Markerstudy Group (MSG).

Despite the impending sale and all of the work that involved, we started the year well. Then, during the lockdown we saw a sharp drop in sales of travel, car, and new home insurance, because of the restrictions on work and movement. This was partially offset though as there were also far fewer claims being made in the underwriting business as people remained at home. Sales picked up in the second half as the economy opened up again, but with this, claims also increased.

You can see our results and some highlights from the year below:

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The sale to MSG completed in Dec 2020. This was a major milestone and the start of a new era for Co-op Insurance. A huge amount of hard work went into getting the sale completed and keeping the business running whilst it was in progress. I want to thank the entire team across the Co-op for everything they did getting us to that point and for all they’ve done since.

The business is now focussed on a new partnerships and distribution model. Our aim is to become a more competitive insurance provider, with more products for more members. The sale provided extra capital and agility to build our Insurance business and we’ve already started extending our product range, improving our online customer experience and becoming more competitive. Because of these changes to our business model, this is the final year we’ll report on measures like Gross Written Premium in our annual results.

We’ll continue to build on the success we’ve had with new products we’ve launched with partners, with brand new Car and home products in place as well as the market leading travel insurance product we have with our partners MAPFRE. This model allows us to bring new products to market quickly and with less risk. We can choose a partner who is an expert in the product and together shape products and campaign, for those things that demonstrate our Co-op difference.

In 2020, we launched our Over 50 Life insurance with Royal London and started a partnership to trial a new type of Pay Per Mile motor insurance. With this product your premium is calculated by how many miles your drive, with our partner By Miles. I’m looking forward to sharing much more about new products and partnerships in the coming years as our distribution business grows.

Our response to Coronavirus

Although many of the colleagues who supported the business through the pandemic have now moved to Markerstudy, I want to call out their amazing actions as they responded to restrictions and new ways of working in what was already a difficult situation for many of the teams.

We moved the car and home contact centre on to the cloud to create a virtual contact centre, this meant colleagues could work from home. We were able to keep everything running so customers could make sure they had insurance protection or to make a claim if the worst happened. On top of this, we were able to flex our policies to make sure they reflected the restrictions and the efforts people were making to support their local communities. We were able to replicate this across all our products as our partners mobilised their contingency plans to support Co-op customers.

For anyone who needed to work from home or was self-isolating, their home insurance cover was not affected. If our customers had to drive more, increasing their mileage or were using their car for voluntary work, they were still covered. We also made sure key workers needing to use their own car to drive to different places weren’t affected. On top of this, we were able to put in place a hardship fund to ensure that we could support our members and customers during this time.

Looking ahead

2020, was a landmark year for Co-op Insurance, we did what mattered most in the face of the pandemic and completed our sale, kick-starting one of the biggest transformations in our history. The work doesn’t end there though and I’m excited to lead the business into a new era with an amazing team around me.

Thank you for everything you’ve done this year!