- Insurance company Direct Line reported higher profit even as gross premiums were dragged lower by declines in motor and travel business lines.

For the half year ended 30 June, pre-tax profit rose 10.5% to £261.3 million, while gross written premium fell by 1.5%.

Continued premiums growth in commercial, home and green flag rescue was offset by declines in motor and travel,' the company said.

Motor gross written premium fell 6.2%.

The company declared an interim dividend of 7.6 pence per share, up by 2.7% over 2020, and said it would be launch the second £50 million tranche of the £100 million share buyback programme announced with its last year end results.

'For 2021, following lower Motor claims frequency and strong prior-year reserve releases in the first half, we now expect our combined operating ratio to be in the range of 90% to 92%, normalised for weather,' the company said.

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