Hardy is looking to increase its presence in high-value industrial property insurance.

The Lloyd's insurer plans to develop its direct and facultative property account in 2006 following the recruitment of a specialist underwriter.

Jamie MacDiarmid, finance director at Hardy, said: "This is a class of business that has generated a significant proportion of Lloyd's profit over the last three or four years.

In light of hurricane losses, which totalled £20.8m, Hardy made pre-tax profits of £7.5m in 2005. Combined ratio was 92.7%.