- RSA Insurance Group reported it had made 'pleasing progress' in the year-to-date 2019, with underwriting profit strongly up.

In its third quarter 2019 trading update, the group reported that operating profit for the first nine months increased, both including and excluding exit portfolios, with an improved combined ratio and slightly lower investment income.

It said net written premiums of £4.8bn were flat overall compared to the year-to-date 2018 and broadly in line with its plans.

Group weather costs were 2.6% of net earned premiums, or 2.7% including exits, a little below the five-year average. It confirmed that weather costs were better than the prior year in Canada, following a 'relatively quiet' third quarter, and for the UK & International division.

The large loss ratio was 9.6%, or 9.9% including exits, having seen improvements in every region.

The written controllable expense ratio fell slightly overall in the period, although the group said it rose in the UK, reflecting 'top line' portfolio exit effects.

RSA group chief executive Stephen Hester said: 'RSA's results to end September are strong, and consistent with our plans for the period. 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.'

In its trading update, RSA confirmed that insurance market conditions were largely unchanged in the third quarter but that financial markets continued to present challenges, particularly from lower bond yields.

At 8:33am: [LON:RSA] RSA Insurance Group PLC share price was +16.7p at 548.9p

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