SHARES in insurance group Direct Line were up yesterday by 2.68 per cent, after the firm, which owns the Churchill brand, posted an increase in profit for the six months to 30 June.
Pre-tax profit from ongoing operations jumped to £315m from £212m in the same period of last year.
Gross written premium increased slightly by 0.4 per cent, climbing from £1.546bn to £1.552bn, and combined operating ratio from ongoing operations improved from 96.1 per cent to 89.4 per cent.
Direct Line boss Paul Geddes said: “Our first half performance shows the benefits of the many improvements that we continue to make to our business.”
He added that completion of the firm’s international disposals meant it is “now totally focused on UK general insurance”. The company sold its German and Italian operations in the second half of 2014, raising around £430m from its deal with Spanish insurance group Mapfre.