Net profit up but overall loss stands at €28bn

The general insurance operation of Fortis has reported a net profit of €6m (£5.6m) for 2008, but the result has been dwarfed by the company’s overall €28bn loss.

Fortis said the overall deficit was down to the €27.4bn it lost when it sold its banking activities to the Belgian and Dutch governments.

This was partly offset by a profit on the sale of its Dutch insurance division.

The company also reported an investment loss of €639m for 2008.

Gross written premium (GWP) for the UK non-life business fell to €954m in 2008, from €1.1bn in 2007.

A spokesman said the decrease in GWP was the result of a “negative currency impact. When reporting this result in sterling, we have seen steady growth in GWP.”

Karel de Boeck, chief executive of Fortis, said the insurance results were satisfactory considering the turbulent market and the “uncertainty” surrounding Fortis.

Total gross inflows were €14.6bn last year. De Boeck added that the company would conduct a careful review to ensure that capital was used effectively.