Former Royal & SunAlliance chief executive Paul Spencer has joined Britannic as a non-executive director.

Britannic announced this week that operating profit for the six months ending June 30 had dropped 15% to £44m, against a profit of £52m for the first six months of 2002.

Britannic's free asset ratio - the capital it has in excess of that needed to pay claims - was 10% at the end of June, compared to 6.5% at the end of 2002.

Chief executive Paul Thompson said: "We have a much improved financial position and we are well on the way back to resumption of dividends and bonuses [to policyholders]."