HBOS reported general insurance profits of £107m for the first half of the year, 34% down on the same period in 2006.

The bank said this reflected the cost of the June floods, which cost it £60m, and the January storms, which saw £20m in claims.

Motor insurance sales

increased by 9% in the six months to 30 June 2007 to £152m, and household business rose 8% to £260m.

Overall, general insurance sales fell by 1% to £868m, with the increased sales in motor and home offset by a 9% fall in repayment insurance.

The bank said that growing its share of the household market was a priority. Competition in the sector had increased in 2007, putting downward pressure on premium rates, particularly in the direct channel, it said.

The motor market continued to see strong price competition and there was no evidence of sustained increases in premium rates by the major motor insurers, said HBOS.