RSA gains on global growth as UK slows

DOUBLE-digit growth in its overseas divisions this year has put home and business insurer Royal & Sun Alliance on track to make a full-year profit, despite booking a £60m loss from storms, it said yesterday.

RSA wrote £6.1bn of insurance premiums in the first nine months of the year, 11 per cent more than a year ago, as premiums in Canada grew by a fifth to £1.1bn, and emerging markets grew 17 per cent to £800m.

The update was the first from new chief executive Simon Lee, who took over from Andy Haste four days ago.

“I’m confident in our ability to continue to meet our targets and deliver sustainable profitable performance,” Lee said.

Net premiums were up seven per cent in both the UK and RSA’s large Scandinavian business, to £2.3bn and £1.4bn respectively. But in a sign of difficult UK conditions, it cut back on both commercial and motor insurance here and said growth would be below seven per cent by the year-end.

RSA took a net £20m loss from a bad storm in Denmark in July and £40m from floods in Dublin and Thailand, but said its full-year combined ratio would be 95 per cent or less.