Direct Line operating profit rises 6 pct
Nov 1 (Reuters) - Britain's largest motor insurer Direct Line Insurance Group reported a 6 percent rise in third-quarter operating profit, driven by stable underwriting profit and higher net investment gains.
Direct Line, spun out of Royal Bank of Scotland in a 787 million pound float last year, said it was too early to assess claims costs from the St. Jude's Day storm with certainty, but they were likely to fall within its fourth-quarter expectation of about 25 million pounds from major weather events.
Operating profit from ongoing operations rose to 131.2 million pounds ($210.79 million) in the three months ended Sept. 30, from 123.7 million pounds a year earlier.
"Even after allowing for normal weather losses, our performance proves we are delivering our self-help agenda and making good progress towards our strategic targets," Chief Executive Paul Geddes said in a statement.
Direct Line, whose brands include Churchill, Privilege and the Green Flag roadside recovery service, said net insurance claims fell 7.2 percent to 547.7 million pounds.
Net investment gains more than doubled to 14.6 million pounds in the quarter.
The company said its vehicle-tracking devices would become increasingly important in the UK motor market and it was installing about 400 devices each week.
The Financial Times reported on Thursday that Direct Line was in advanced talks to sell a telematics business to a private equity house. ()
If it goes ahead with the disposal, Direct Line would retain other telematics-related interests, including a mobile phone app it launched in June, FT said.
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