Feb 26 Britain's Direct Line Insurance Group
reported a rise in full-year profit as it recorded
fewer claims in its home insurance unit and tapped into reserve
releases to counter a slide in car insurance premiums.
The insurer, spun out of Royal Bank of Scotland in
the wake of the financial crisis, said it aimed to achieve a
combined operating ratio (COR) of between 95 percent and 97
percent in 2014. A COR below 100 percent means an insurer earns
more in premiums than it pays out in claims.
Pretax profit increased about 70 percent to 312.8 million
pounds ($521.83 million) in the year ended Dec. 31.
Fourth-quarter pretax profit rose 51 percent to 90.9 million
pounds, despite an unusually strong spate of storms that
inundated chunks of Britain during the period.
Net earned premiums fell 5 percent to 3.52 billion pounds.
Direct Line, whose brands include Churchill, Privilege and
the Green Flag roadside recovery service, said it would pay a
final dividend of 8.4 pence per share, 5 percent higher than