HBOS said insurance profits rose by 11% to £445m in the 12 months ending 31 December 2003.

General insurance sales grew 19% in the UK, while household and repayment insurance products increased by 20% and 9% respectively, and sales of motor insurance products were up 69%.

Its Esure subsidiary sold almost 800,000 motor and household policies, and HBOS said Esure was expected to break even in the first half of 2004.

HBOS began underwriting its own household insurance products, previously underwritten by Royal & Sun-Alliance, from the end of December 2003.

All household business will be transferred to HBOS during renewals.

It said the move would have a one-off effect of reducing reported profits in 2004 by an estimated £76m.

  • Finance union Unifi said it was seeking the reintroduction of profit sharing for HBOS staff following the announcement of the company's profits.
  • Unifi official John Nolan said: "The bank's profits are up by almost a third thanks to the hard work of staff.

    "It's time for the bank to recognise the exceptionally hard work of staff and reintroduce profit sharing."

    Before its merger with the Halifax, the Bank of Scotland gave staff an annual 15% profit share bonus.