* Q1 net written premiums down 9 pct to 1.98 bln stg
* Bad weather in core markets cost it 111 mln stg
* Premiums could be up to 10 pct lower for full year
(Adds details, background)
LONDON, May 8 British insurer RSA said
premiums fell in the first quarter of the year, reflecting tough
trading conditions in core western European markets and the
impact of a turnaround plan that has seen some businesses sold
In a trading statement on Thursday, RSA said the headline
fall in underlying net written premiums was 9 percent from a
year earlier to 1.98 billion pounds ($3.36 billion) for the
The company is in the middle of a root and branch shake-up,
steered by new Chief Executive Stephen Hester, after
weather-related losses and accounting irregularities at its
Irish arm hit its finances, prompting the departure of several
In February, the company began a drive to raise up to 1.6
billion pounds in capital and tapped shareholders for around
half in a rights issue that wrapped up in April.
The "Action Plan" also involves disposing of non-core assets
and streamlining the remaining operations.
RSA has already secured the sale of operations in the
Baltics and Poland and said it expects to announce more
disposals during 2014.
The company said it expects premiums could be up to 10
percent lower for the full year as a result of the disposals.
Hester said premiums and profits trends remained in line
with expectations, though market conditions were challenging and
the company had much to achieve in its turnaround
notwithstanding "intense activity" in the first quarter.
"There remains much to do and we operate in a challenging
and competitive market place. 2014 is a foundation year, but one
where we hope to make solid progress," he said.
Bad weather in core markets cost the insurer 111 million
pounds of which 60 million pounds was attributed to the UK where
the quarter started with widespread flooding and winter storms.
An earthquake in Chile in April is likely to have cost RSA
15-20 million pounds, the company added.
($1 = 0.5894 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Chris Vellacott; Editing by Matt Scuffham and