British insurer RSA sells Russian operations

A sign of RSA insurance company is pictured outside its office in London December 13, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - RSA Insurance Group RSA.L is selling its Russian operations, Intouch Insurance, to Russian pension fund Blagosostoyanie for around 5 million pounds cash, the British insurer said on Wednesday, as part on an ongoing restructuring plan.

The sale is the latest move by Chief Executive Stephen Hester to sell off non-core assets across the world and shore up the firm’s balance sheet.

RSA sold its Latin American business for 400 million pounds in September and is also expected to sell its Middle Eastern business.

“Our business in Russia does not have the same scale as our core franchises in the UK, Canada and Scandinavia,” Paul Whittaker, group chief operating officer said in a statement.

“Therefore we have decided to sell Intouch to a company that is an experienced and committed player in the Russian market.”

RSA Russia accounted for net written premiums of 27 million pounds and an underwriting loss of 5 million pounds within RSA’s 2014 group results before deduction of non-controlling interest, the insurer said.

Hester has said the insurer, best known in Britain for its More Than insurance brand, is not looking to be taken over after rival Zurich Insurance abandoned a proposed 5.6 billion pound bid for RSA in September, a process he described as a “distraction”.

Blagosostoyanie is one of the largest non-state pension funds in Russia, according to its website.

Reporting by Anjuli Davies; Editing by Mark Potter