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RSA premiums aided by non-U.K. business


LONDON—Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Group P.L.C. has posted increased premiums and profit for 2006, boosted by sales outside the United Kingdom.

RSA's net written premiums saw a slight increase of 3%, reaching £5.5 billion ($10.6 billion)in 2006. The company attributed this to "a disciplined approach in the United Kingdom, above market growth in Scandinavia and double digit growth in international." The United Kingdom, where RSA wrote net premiums of £2.6 billion ($5.02 billion), remains RSA's most competitive market, the company said.

U.K. commercial net premiums fell from £1.8 billion ($3.47 million) in 2005 to £1.77 billion ($3.42 billion) in 2006.

The combined ratio for U.K. commercial business in 2006 deteriorated 0.7 percentage points to 92.6%. This included a £39 million reserve strengthening for asbestos.

RSA's operating profit was 5% higher in 2006 at £780 million ($1.51 billion)

The underwriting result of £310 million ($598.72 million) was up 18% on the 2005 result. The combined ratio in 2006 was 93.3% —a 0.8 percentage point improvement on 2005.

The company recorded a £484 million ($933.69 million) before tax write down for the sale of its U.S. operation, which was sold to Arrowpoint Capital Corp. earlier this month.

RSA said that it expected strong growth from each region —it reorganized the group into U.K. business, international and emerging markets last year —in 2007, and that it expected to deliver a combined operating ratio of better than 95%.