Belfast Telegraph

Falling pound helps drive RSA Insurance earnings up

More Than owner RSA Insurance has said Brexit is providing a welcome boost as the plunging pound helps offset "otherwise challenging" trading.

The group revealed that, w ith more than two-thirds of its earnings made in foreign currencies, the pound's tumble is driving its results higher.

It said profits for the nine months of the year so far were "strong" and better than it expected, with the fillip from the pound helping counter tough conditions in the UK.

Stephen Hester, group chief executive of RSA, said: "Brexit provides us an attractive tailwind from overseas earnings translation, in the context of an otherwise challenging environment.

"While the fourth quarter can be a bumpy underwriting period, RSA is on track for strong operating earnings increases for 2016 overall."

RSA said nine-month net written premiums fell 5% across the group due to the impact of its move to offload a raft of businesses, but rose 6% on an underlying basis to £4.6 billion.

RSA also sold off more than £1 billion in non-core operations last year.

UK and Ireland net written premiums edged 1% higher to £2.2 billion in the first nine months, but RSA said home insurance premiums fell after it pulled out of loss-making schemes.

It cheered "strong growth" in so-called telematics insurance policies, which reward motorists for careful driving by using hard-wired black boxes in cars to monitor factors such as the time of a journey, speed, cornering, acceleration and braking.

The group added that total weather costs for the first nine months of 2016 were £145 million, which represents 3.2% of net earned premiums.