August 2, 2018 / 6:21 AM / in 3 months

Bad weather hits insurer RSA H1 operating profit

LONDON, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Insurer RSA posted a 15 percent drop in first-half operating profit to 304 million pounds ($398.33 million) on Thursday, hit by bad weather conditions, particularly in Canada.

The operating profit was in line with a forecast 303 million pounds, according to a company-supplied consensus forecast.

“First half underwriting results were below our ambitions due to adverse weather costs,” Chief Executive Stephen Hester said in a statement.

“On an underlying basis we showed areas of excellent performance however, and with much we can continue to improve.”

RSA, best known in Britain for its More Than brand, also has major businesses in Canada, Ireland and Scandinavia.

Net written premiums dropped 5 percent to 3.2 billion pounds in constant currency terms, below a forecast 3.4 billion pounds, and underwriting profit fell 23 percent to 171 million pounds.

The firm’s combined ratio weakened to 94.7 percent from 93.2 percent a year earlier, with Canada the worst performer. A level below 100 percent indicates an underwriting profit.

RSA said it would pay an interim dividend of 7.3 pence per share, in line with forecasts and up 11 percent.

$1 = 0.7597 pounds Reporting by Carolyn Cohn, editing by Sinead Cruise

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