Home and car insurer Direct Line (DLG) wrote 4.2% more premiums in the three months to 31 March than in the first quarter of 2015, but falling investment returns are a concern.

Shares moved 1% higher to 372p after the group reported that its 15.8 million policies generated £777.8 million of revenue during the quarter, up from £746.5 million from 16 million contracts a year earlier.

This was achieved despite the near 60% rise in insurance premium tax to 9.5%. Some believe that the rise would force many consumers to shop around for better deals on comparison websites.

Web - Direct Line - 04 May 2016

Management put part of this gain down to its partnerships with car-makers Peugeot and Citroën, which centre on telematics technology to monitor how well people are driving.

One negative is that market volatility and low interest rates contributed to the total investment return falling to £33.4 million from £51.8 million in 12 months.

There was no word on profit during the period, but management expect to report a maximum combined ratio of 95% for 2016, meaning that the group only keeps 5% of every premium it writes.

Issue Date: 04 May 2016