Premiums grow at Irish arm of RSA insurance

Net written premiums grew by 3%, on a constant currency basis, at the Irish arm of international insurance group, RSA in the first half of this year.

The £182m (€231m) figure was, however, down by 2% on a reported basis, on the back of general contraction in the Irish market.

RSA — formerly Royal and Sun Alliance — has attributed its recent growth in Ireland to its online operation, 123.ie, which it acquired for €65m two years ago; even though the group has a 300 year presence here and is the second largest and fastest growing insurer in the Republic.

Premiums at 123.ie grew by 20%, on a year-on-year basis, during the first half.

“In Ireland, our aim is to drive value from the acquisition of 123.ie and maintain our market leading profitability, and we’re delivering on both objectives,” RSA said.

On an overall group basis, RSA yesterday reported a 4% year-on-year increase in first half net written premiums to £4.3bn, on a constant currency basis. It also reported a combined operating ratio (COR) — a key measurement metric of insurance underwriting profitability — of 95.2%, aided by strong trading performances from its Scandinavian and Canadian divisions.

The company’s interim dividend has also been raised by 2% to 3.41p.

Simon Lee — RSA’s group CEO — called the first half showing “a solid performance in challenging conditions”, adding that management remains confident of delivering a good performance for the full year.

“We’re making good progress with our strategic priorities,” Mr Lee said.

Despite economic conditions remaining tough, Mr Lee said the company expects to deliver a COR of “better than 96%” for 2012, as a whole.

RSA changed the structure of its Irish business three years ago.


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