And also this week …

Brightside profits swell

Brightside boosted its revenue by 35% to £44.7m and pre-tax profit increased from £4.4m to £6.6m last year. The West Country-based insurance outfit also increased EBITDA by 26% to £9.7m last year, compared to 2008. Its 2009 preliminary results show earnings per share increased by 52% to 1.41p. Brightside chief executive Paul Chase-Gardener said: “2009 has proved to be a landmark year for Brightside.”

FSA fines reach new levels

The FSA handed out a record £33.1m of fines over the past year, a 21% increase on last year’s figure, according to City law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain. In the year ending 31 March 2010, there were eight £1m-plus fines totalling £27.5m, up 32% from £20.8m the year before, when there were six.

Property cat stays soft

Aon Benfield has revealed that property catastrophe rates remained soft as the market completes 1 April renewals. Despite reinsurer reports of first-quarter income impacts and catastrophe losses, the effect on reinsurer capital was not significant. At 31 December 2009, the industry had returned to near-record capital while facing steady to declining demand for reinsurance from cedents.

Invicta goes for lowe

Steve Gamage and Paul Cosh’s new venture Invicta Insurance Services has made its second acquisition, buying Sevenoaks-based Lowe Insurance. Founders Patricia and John Lowe will remain with the business.

Omega takes Chile hit

Omega Insurance has estimated it faces a combined net loss from the Chilean earthquake of around $23m, based on market loss estimates of $5.5bn-$8.5bn.