Cox Insurance Holdings, the integrated Lloyd's vehicle, has reported a 12.4% increase in gross written premiums for the first six months of the year to £263.8 million.

However, the firm's pre-tax profits dipped £2m to £11.8m while operating profits were down from £7.3m to £7.2m.

Acquisitions and organic growth in the motor market saw written premium increase by more than 35% compared to the first six months of 1998.

Cox is set to launch its e-commerce division with an internet insurance service in November. "Cox is now well placed and determined to benefit from this new distribution channel", said the company's statement.

The firm is also to open a call centre in Bradford to service personal lines business.

The firm is anticipating minor underwriting problems arising from Y2K in relation to electronic data recognition.

An interim dividend of 1p per share was declared compared to 0.9p for the first six months of last year.