Mild weather helps boost shares at insurer RSA

The sun shone on RSA, the insurance provider behind More Than, as weather was mild in the UK and Canada.

The company’s written premiums remained flat, and broadly in line with expectation at just under £4.9 billion in the year to date, against the same period last year.

RSA faced a weaker set of results in the UK, but still in line with what it had expected, as the income from its premiums fell 3%, when stripping out some changes.

These include the business areas it has exited, as the company last year said it was going to stop selling some kinds of insurance. It has spent much of this year running down the contracts it has in these areas.

“RSA’s results to end September are strong, and consistent with our plans for the period,” said chief executive Stephen Hester.

“Current year underwriting results have sharply improved, with all our regional businesses contributing. There is lots more to do – not least to finish 2019 well, with momentum into next year.”

The results were a bump for shares in the company, which were trading up 3.2% to 549.4p.

Scandinavian premiums rose 2%, while in Canada they grew by 4% as prices went up.

Operating profit was up in the first nine months of the year, as RSA was able to cut costs because of good weather conditions. Weather costs were 2.6% of net earned premiums, against 4.7% in the same period last year.

“Weather in Canada has been relatively quiet in Q3 in addition to relatively benign weather in the UK,” said Paul De’Ath, an analyst at Shore Capital.

The update was “broadly in-line with our expectations,” he added.

RSA said: “Our focus in 2019 is to continue improving for customers; to grow our business where underwriting conditions permit; and to re-price and re-underwrite in those business lines which saw difficult results in 2018, as well as completing the portfolio exits announced.”