MISYS has posted an 18% slump in interim pre-tax profits to £48.3million compared with the same period last year.

But the software giant's insurance division, Misys Financial Systems, reported an £8m rise in profits and sales growth is up 13% to £28m.

Chairman Kevin Lomax blamed the fall in overall profits on a freeze in software orders, but said it had not affected the insurance sector.

The insurance division results, Misys said, were achieved in spite of continued consolidation in both the insurance company and intermediary sectors, leading to fewer but larger underwriters and insurance brokers.

Misys Interactive also made a loss of around £3m compared with £1.1m in 1998, but the company defended the venture claiming that it provided useful data about on-line consumers".

The company also announced plans to implement a new technology platform early this year and claimed that its panel of insurers accounts for 67% of the UK market.

Department of Trade and Industry figures for 1998 showed underwriting losses for the industry double those of calendar year 1997 with results for 1999 likely to show similar losses.

Despite rate increases, general insurance transaction processing volumes and revenues increased in the first six months of the year as more insurers deployed full cycle EDI products on Misys systems.

The personal lines market saw significant rate increases. Despite these trends, the broker channel continued to hold around 60% of the distribution of personal lines motor insurance and 87% of commercial lines business.