Lloyds TSB Insurance has made further strides into the SME market after reporting strong growth in its general liability portfolio in 2006.

New gross written premium (GWP) for its SME general liability product rose by 133% in 2006, while new home insurance sales through the Lloyds TSB UK retail bank rose by 42% in terms of GWP in the same period.

In April, Lloyds TSB Insurance won the tender to supply home and motor insurance to Home Retail Group customers.

This was followed in July by the acquisition of the new and existing general insurance business of Pearl Group and the right to market a range of products under the Pearl brand.

Lloyd's TSB Insurance reported a £34m or 16% increase in profit before tax, to £243m in 2006.

Barclays boost
Barclays has strengthened its household insurance portfolio after increasing its number of customers in 2006.

Household policies rose from 616,000 in 2005 to 825,000 by the end of last year. However, net premiums from insurance contracts fell by 4% from £280m in 2005 to £269m.

The bank said this was due to low customer take-up of loan protection insurance.

On the whole its UK retail banking sector, which includes general insurance, saw profits before tax rise by 17% to £1,213m.