And also this week...

Profits fall at RBSI

RBS Insurance has reported a fall in pre-tax profit to £217m for the first half of this year, compared with £300m for the same period last year. The parent group edged back in to the black with a £15m profit, compared with a £727m loss at the same time last year. In the insurance arm, direct expenses improved by 4% to £260m, mainly driven by lower staff costs and reduced marketing spend. Net claims were 2% higher at £1.55bn due to increases in creditor claims, home claims relating to the very cold weather in the first quarter of this year, and a rise in personal injury motor claims costs. Gross written premium increased 2%, own-brand motor gross written premium increased 10% year-on-year, and own-brand home gross written premium increased 11%. The UK combined operating ratio for the first half of this year, including manufacturing costs, deteriorated to 95.3%, compared with 94.8% in 2008, reflecting a higher loss ratio partly offset by an improved expense base.

New role at Groupama

Groupama has appointed Andrew Fletcher, head of commercial motor, to the new role of head of motor. He has been with the firm since 1991. Craig Allen and Neil Thunström retain their respective positions as head of home, and head of PA and travel.

Markel appointment

Markel has appointed Robert Ashby as specie underwriter in its marine and energy division. He joins from QBE, where he was deputy specie underwriter.

Sinclair joins Coversure

Former AA Insurance and Iprism managing director Kevin Sinclair has joined Coversure as group underwriting director. Sinclair quit as the head of The AA’s insurance division following the company’s £6bn merger with Saga in 2007. He then spent 15 months at Iprism. He joins Bob Darling, Coversure’s franchise director, another recent recruit. Sinclair said: “Coversure is an exciting place at present. Market conditions are perfect for the expansion of the franchise model, and I can’t wait to be part of the next stage in its future.”

Harmer replaced at MRG

Travelers Syndicate Management chairman Barnabas Hurst-Bannister is succeeding former Aon chief executive Peter Harmer as chairman of the London Market Reform Group (MRG). Hurst-Bannister is also deputy chairman of the Lloyd’s Market Association.