Slimmed down RSA Insurance is looking good

Hayley Kirton
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Weighty Issues
It's amazing what happens when you shed Brazil, Colombia and Russia (Source: Getty)

RSA Insurance Group today reported operating profits rose in the first quarter of 2016, as the company's plans to slim down by disposing of overseas businesses starts to reach its final stages.

Shares in the company were trading up two per cent at 478.7p shortly after 10am London time.

5 May 2016 @ 9:45amRSA Insurance Group (RSA)

The figures

Net written premiums for the total group dipped slightly to £1.6bn, down one per cent on a reported basis. However, net written premiums for the core group, which does not include discontinued operations, rose to £1.5bn, up eight per cent from £1.3bn last year.

Meanwhile, the company also noted operating profits for the first quarter were "strong and ahead of expectations". Underwriting performance in the UK, Ireland, Canada and Scandinavia were also ahead of the company's plans.

Why it's interesting

RSA has been shedding its overseas subsidiaries this year, particularly those in Latin America, in a bid to streamline the company. Disposals of its Brazil, Colombia and Russia offerings completed in the first quarter of this year, while Chile and Argentina closed in April.

There's even more to come, with two more disposals in Latin America expected to complete around the middle of this year.

What RSA said

"The year has started well for RSA," said Stephen Hester, RSA group chief executive.

"A streamlined and focused business model is already proving its worth, channelling our self-improvement measures more effectively to drive performance gains. Higher profits are underpinned by better attritional loss ratios and falling costs as planned. More volatile underwriting items have also gone our way this quarter."

What analysts said

A note from Panmure Gordon & Co remarked:

The markets remain challenging in both personal and commercial although RSA does highlight that rates are moving at different speeds in different territories

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