RSA profits on the up

RSA has reported an increase in group operating profits in the first half of the year, and says it believes Brexit will be good for business.

It’s recorded a group operating profit of £312m, with contributions from the UK of £144m. The insurer’s group underwriting profit was up 72% to £174m, compared to £101m in the first six months of 2015.

Meanwhile, Stephen Hester, RSA group chief executive believes Brexit will actually benefit the group going forward.

He said, ‘For RSA Brexit represents a positive in the sense that the sharp depreciation of Sterling against foreign currencies will benefit our stated earnings going forward, because something like 75% of our profits are earned outside the UK. That should give a further boost to our earnings per share in the coming period.’

The company did report that overall net written premiums had dropped from £3.44bn last year to £3.25bn in the six months of this year, with net written premiums of £1.275bn in the UK. Post-tax profit also declined to £91m from £215m in the first half of last year when the insurer benefitted from disposal gains.

Stephen said, ‘In tough, competitive insurance markets and with significant financial market volatility, our results are even more satisfying. Particularly pleasing is the track record we are building of setting out plans and then achieving them in a high quality way.

‘Strategic focus has now been achieved through completion of our principal disposal programmes. Performance improvement is coming through strongly, driven by underwriting gains and cost re-engineering. In fact our interim results were actually held back by volatile items in weather/large losses.

‘Our agenda for the second half is clear; a continued drive to raise performance through better underwriting, lower costs and strong focus on customers. We expect that 2016 will be another year of great progress for RSA.’