- Insurer Direct Line declared a special dividend to replace the cancelled final dividend and said that Mike Biggs had stood down as chairman.

The company declared an interim dividend of 7.4p, up from 7.2p last year, alongside a further special dividend of 14.4p to replace the cancelled 2019 final dividend.

The uptick in the proposed dividend came as the company reported that profit slipped on higher costs in the first half of the year.

In the first half of the year, pre-tax profit fell 9.5% to £236.4m as grss written premium grew just 0.4% to £1.58bn.

'The estimated impact of Covid-19 was broadly neutral, as lower claims costs in motor were offset by higher claims costs in travel, higher operating expenses following investment in initiatives to protect our customers, people and society, and lower investment return,' the company said.

Covid-19 restrictions led to a 70% reduction in claims in the company's motor business in April, which had increased each month since then but remained below normal levels.

Other personal lines reported a loss of £40.2m, largely due to £25m of claims costs in travel due to the impact of Covid-19, the company said.

Looking ahead to the full year, the company reiterated its target of a combined operating ratio of 93% to 95% normalised for weather and anticipated restructuring costs of £60m over 2019 and 2020 would be incurred in full.

At 8:16am: [LON:DLG] Direct Line Insurance Group PLC share price was +20.1p at 327.7p

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