Thursday 1 August 2019 9:45 am

Insurer RSA hails 'solid' first-half as it tries to get underwriting back on track

Insurer RSA said today it had improved its underwriting performance in the first half of 2019, as it looks to re-energise its business following a slump in 2018.

Underwriting profit fell from £171m in the first half of 2018 to £153m in the first half of 2019.

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RSA said this was due to its planned exits from certain less profitable lines of business. Excluding exits, it said underwriting profit would have stood at £181m.

Gross written premiums ticked up to £3.25bn from £3.21bn the previous year.

Profit-before-tax fell to £227m from £296m the year before.

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Chief executive Stephen Hester (pictured) said: “RSA has reported a solid first half performance. Our mission for 2019 is to sustain momentum in the large parts of our business that did well last year, whilst successfully improving the areas that disappointed."

Hester added: “Results from current year underwriting are up strongly versus H1 2018 and our best in the last 10 years. Progress is even more marked versus H2 2018. Within these totals, attritional loss ratios have improved.”

UBS analysts said: "Messy headlines but the underlying is in-line. We can see the positive underlying signs we were expecting."

RSA's share price rose 2.9 per cent to 576p in trading this morning.

Picture credit: Getty