March 3, 2020 / 7:22 AM / a month ago

Direct Line flags virus impact, posts profit drop

March 3 (Reuters) - British insurer Direct Line said on Tuesday the coronavirus outbreak could hurt results for its travel business this year, as it reported a fall in 2019 profit in the face of steep claims and strong competition on pricing from smaller rivals.

The FTSE 250 company, Britain’s biggest motor insurer, said pretax profit fell to 509.7 million pounds ($651.70 million) for the year ended Dec. 31 from 580.5 million pounds a year earlier.

In a separate statement, the company also said its Chairman Mike Biggs would step down in 2020 after the appointment of a successor. ($1 = 0.7821 pounds) (Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)

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