"Good news story", says chief, but profits down at Confused.com

Admiral plans to move into the US market after posting a record pre-tax profit of £202.5m for 2008.

Henry Engelhardt, chief executive, said the 11% increase in pre-tax profit and 13% rise in turnover to £910m was a “good news story”.

One subsidiary, price comparison site Confused.com, made a £25.6m profit, down from £36.7m in 2007.

Engelhardt said Admiral would set up a US insurance company in Virginia. It also planned to start a price comparison website called Rastreator in Madrid, Spain.

“Key to our success was the great result turned in by the UK business,” he said. “We increased the number of customers by 15% by giving competitive prices and great service. Our combined ratio in the UK fell from 83% to 81% while premium income grew 12% to £690m.”

Engelhardt added: “As the UK business goes from strength to strength, we are planting the seeds of our long-term future by taking what we know and do well – internet and phone delivery of car insurance – to other countries.”