Belfast Telegraph

AA sees first increase in membership since 2009

The AA has reported the first rise in membership in eight years, as investment in its app and digital offerings helped stem a near decade of declines.

The breakdown service said the total number of paid personal members rose to 3,335,000 from 3,331,000 over the year to January 31 - the first increase since 2009 - while average income per member increased by 1.3%.

It helped drive the company to a pre-tax profit of £74 million, compared to a loss of £1 million a year earlier, while revenues rose 1.6% to £940 million.

"We have reversed years of decline in membership and seen growth accelerate in the second half of the year.

"This is the result of modernised digital platforms, the new highly effective marketing approach, and the enriched membership proposition," the AA said.

AA shares rose more than 5.5% on the back of the results.

It follows tech investments that have boosted online sales and increased use of its app, which AA says is now used in 22% of breakdowns and has been downloaded by more than one million of its members.

New business volumes rose 14%, while retention climbed to 82%, despite an increase in insurance premium tax.

It also saw the first rise in motor insurance policies since 2008.

Executive chairman Bob Mackenzie said: "The transformation is delivering growth in our Roadside Assistance Membership base and of motor insurance policies, reversing long-term historic declines.

"It has given us a firm platform for sustainable growth."

The AA said it has experienced a "positive start" to the new financial year and will charge on with its cost-cutting programme, which is set to shave £40 million off of annual costs from 2019.

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