Profits rise 60% despite underwriting loss

Motor specialist Highway saw profits rise 60% in the first half of the year, boosted by strong investment returns.

Pre-tax profits rose to £11.8m from £7.5m in 2006m, despite posting an underwriting loss. The combined operating ratio deteriorated to 100.9% from 98.1%.

Gross written premiums were £131.2m, up from £119.3m in the previous year, while revenues from the group’s broking operations remained relatively stable at £12.7m.

Highway chairman Richard Gamble said: “A strong investment performance in the first six months has resulted in an interim result that is well ahead of 2006.

"Underwriting conditions remained challenging during the six months to 30 June 2007 and the widely anticipated market recovery appears to be finally under way. We are now seeing strong evidence that premium rate increases are being achieved and the business is well positioned to take advantage of a prolonged upturn as this develops.”