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Brit profits up in 2006


LONDON— Brit Insurance Holdings P.L.C. has announced a pretax profit of £186.3 million ($358.7 million) for 2006 — a 198.6% increase on the 2005 result.

Gross written premiums were up by 2.8% to £1.24 billion ($2.39 billion), the company said.

"2006 was a record year for profitability. We remained true to our strategy of increasing business profitably while at the same time reducing volatility," said Dane Douetil, chief executive officer.

Brit saw its London market book grow by 26% in 2006, while the reinsurance and U.K. books reduced by 20.7% and 12% respectively. While reinsurance was down, Mr. Douetil was keen to emphasize that the company still wrote $500 million in reinsurance premiums last year.

Mr. Douetil also predicted an up-turn in the British insurance market by the end of 2007. "It's too early to call a turn yet, but we'd expect the market to turn, led by the motor sector, by the end of the year if things continue the way they're going," he said.