New GI boss McIntyre says focus will be on 'the right business'

A head-on fight between Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA) and Norwich Union (NU) would be "stupid", R&SA's new chief executive for general insurance Bridget McIntyre has said.

McIntyre, NU's former director of sales, marketing and underwriting, spoke last week as R&SA reported a 66% rise in its underwriting profit to £111m for the first nine months of 2005.

"Although we need to grow the business, it is about targeting the right business.

To start a fight with NU would be stupid," she said.

McIntyre said she would be "keeping a low profile" for her first few months while she visited clients and brokers.

Asked whether she would visit brokers across the country with commercial director Brendan McManus, she said: "I will be travelling with Brendan to meet clients with Adrian [Brown of More Th>n] and on my own."

On R&SA's intermediated business, outgoing chief executive Duncan Boyle said it had signed two affinity deals and three new broker panels in the third quarter. He did not name the new brokers.

For commercial lines, net written premiums were up £49m from 2004 to £1.36bn, though rates were competitive. In the UK, both commercial motor and property rates were down 5% and commercial liability rates fell by 7%.

Boyle said: "We are not moving one iota from our policy of achieving technical price performance. Claims inflation is putting pricing under pressure, but our claims ratio improved 5%."

R&SA's claims ratio for UK general business during this period was 60.4%, from 63.8% for the same period in 2004.

Its personal lines underwriting result improved by £1m to £19m. More Th>n saw good growth, R&SA said, with 50% of its sales via the web.

Boyle also said the industry would meet the FSA on 7 December in respect of contract certainty discussions.

Results at a glance
R&SA headline figures (nine months to 30 September)

Insurance result, core group: £611m (compared to £464m for the same period in 2004)

UK general insurance combined ratio (COR): 92.9% (2004: 96%)

UK commercial COR: 91.2% (2004: 96.3%)

UK personal COR: 96.5% (2004: 96.2%)

More Th>n COR: 94.5% (2004: 96%)

UK personal net premiums: £639m (up £34m on previous year)