Legal & General's insurance division reported an 11% fall in operating profits, despite a strong performance from its household book.

Operating profit on continuing operations fell from £36m in 2003 to £32m.

Within that total, profits on the household account increased from £14m to £22m in 2004, an increase of 57%. The rise reflected a significantly lower level of subsidence claims, the company said.

Net written premiums increased by 17%, from £253m in 2003 to £295m in 2004.

Household premiums made up 77% of the net written premiums, which showed growth of 27%.

The insurer said brokers would be the focus of its growth strategy in 2005.

L&G business development director Peter Richmond told Insurance Times: "While we have grown in size in recent years, the target is to make improvements in profits in the broking sector."

The insurer has set a target of 20% growth in profits in 2005.

' Chris Rolland has been appointed to head up L&G's healthcare division and spearhead it through a rapid growth period in 2005.

Richmond said that the company would aim to exceed the 17% growth achieved in 2004 by its healthcare arm.