RSA’s Sales Rise on Emerging Market and U.K. Premium Growth

RSA Insurance Group Plc (RSA), the U.K.’s biggest non-life insurer by market value, said revenue for the first nine months of 2011 climbed 11 percent as the firm expanded internationally and raised premiums in the U.K.

Net written premiums rose to 6.1 billion pounds ($9.7 billion) in the nine months to Sept. 30 from 5.5 billion pounds a year earlier, the London-based insurer said today in a statement. Sales in the U.K. gained 7 percent to 2.3 billion pounds and revenue from emerging markets climbed 17 percent to 800 million pounds.

“I’m confident in our ability to continue to meet our targets and deliver sustainable profitable performance,” Chief Executive Officer Simon Lee said in the statement.

RSA, which insures cars, ships and businesses, is seeking to increase market share by making acquisitions in emerging markets and Europe as rivals are squeezed by slow-growing economies and low interest rates. Lee, who previously ran the insurer’s international division, replaced Andy Haste as CEO on Nov. 1.

After making more than 40 acquisitions, Haste last year tried to buy Aviva Plc’s U.K. non-life unit, a 5 billion-pound offer the target rejected.

The company gained 3.9 percent to 109.4 pence at the close of London trading, the second-best performer in the 10-member FTSE ASX Non-Life Index.

RSA is on course to beat its combined ratio target of 95 percent this year, it said. That means it will pay out less than 95 pence for every pound it takes in premiums. The company’s pension deficit increased to 229 million pounds from 122 million pounds at the end of June as corporate bond yields fell.

Sales at the company’s international division, which includes Canada and Scandinavia, rose 9 percent at constant exchange rates to 2.9 billion pounds.

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