RSA operating profits hit by specialist insurance woes

RSA said that its operating profits dropped sharply last year after it was hit by problems in its specialist commercial insurance business.

The past six months have been turbulent for the insurer. In September the company warned on profits, saying that weather related claims and a series of large one off losses would hit its UK and International division. Steve Lewis, the head of that part of the business, left last month to be replaced by chief financial officer Scott Egan. 

On Thursday, the company reported operating profits of £517m for 2018, a fifth lower than the previous year and below analysts’ forecasts. 

RSA said it has taken action to exit unprofitable lines and changed its prices elsewhere. 

Chief executive Stephen Hester said: “In 2018 RSA increased headline profits and dividends with a still attractive return on capital. At an underlying level however, the results represent RSA’s first down year since 2013. We believe strongly that 2019 will show a bounce back and are taking decisive action to that end.”

He added: “Our performance ambitions for RSA are high, and unchanged. We recognise the need to demonstrate resumed progress against them.”

Overall pre-tax profits for the year were up 7 per cent at £480m and the company increased its full year dividend by a similar amount to 21p per share.


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