Hiscox has seen a dip in UK profits for 2006 after investing £10m in a major brand building drive, including its first television advertising campaign.

Profits for the company's UK operations fell from £40.4m in 2005 to £31.9m. This was partly due to the large increase in marketing expenditure during the year.

However, as a result of the advertising campaign, Hiscox said gross written premiums grew to £226.3m from £207.3m with its direct account almost doubling in income.

Bronek Masojada, chief executive of Hiscox, said: "Hiscox UK and Hiscox Europe have expanded their revenues during the year. The reduction in profitability reflects the outstanding year they had in 2005."

Meanwhile, the group's pre-tax profit was £201.1m compared to £70.2m in 2005. Its combined ratio was 88.3% down from 96%.