R&SA's direct arm is set to place the insurer securely in the number three spot in the personal lines market

Royal & SunAlliance's (R&SA) direct arm More Th>n is set to bring in over £400m in gross written premium (GWP) this year, according to UK director of personal lines Adrian Brown.

Brown said that the heavily-advertised direct business would generate household premium of £170m and £240m of motor premium in 2003. "That's around 45% of our total personal lines income," he said.

Commenting on the recently stated aim of Zurich to usurp R&SA as Britain's third largest personal lines insurer, Brown said research showed the number one and two players, Norwich Union and Royal Bank Insurance, would have premium incomes in excess of £1bn. He added that R&SA, accounting for the loss of the Halifax account, would have a premium income of over £530m, while Zurich would have a personal lines premium income of around £328m for 2003.

The gap would close considerably if Zurich picks up the household account of HSBC bank, which is estimated to be worth £80m-£90m of premium income. But Brown said that R&SA might continue to work with HSBC on the account - its existing contract is set to lapse.

"HSBC has issued requests for information to insurers about how it should run its household account," said Brown. He added that the solution could be a partnership with R&SA or could include R&SA as part of a panel. "It's too early to say," he said.

Brown emphasised that building societies are still a big part of R&SA's account. "We hold 30 of the 60 building societies," he said. This follows news earlier this year that R&SA will cease underwriting Halifax and the Portman.

Meanwhile, Brown is hoping to know what reserves to put aside for this year's record-breaking subsidence claims. He said that the number of claims has now gone down from 300 per week to 150 per week.

"It used to take a long time, now we expect to know in three or four months," he said.