Direct Line's total income soared by 46% in the first half of the year compared with the same period last year.

Its income increased by £310m to £989m compared with £679m in the first six months of 2001 .

Excluding acquisitions, which added £28m, total income was up by 42% or £282m.

Premium income increased by 47% to £885m after reinsurance.

The number of in-force UK motor insurance policies increased by 360,000 from December last year to 4.38 million in June.

The number of in-force UK home insurance policies increased over the same period by 190,000 to 1.55 million.

Expenses increased by 32% or £48m to £197m. Excluding acquisitions, which added £20m, expenses were up by 19% or £28m.

Net claims after reinsurance increased by 53% or £221m to £639m.

The company said this was mainly the result of higher business volumes.

Gross claims increased to £787m from £585m in the first half of last year.

Direct Line's combined operating ratio, which measures claims and costs as a percentage of premiums, increased to 89.1% in the first half of the year, from 87% last time.