Royal & SunAlliance has predicted that it will see the biggest growth in its specialist business lines this year, given "tough" trading conditions in the general SME market.

Brendan McManus, the insurer's commercial director, said that the competitive nature of the SME market meant that it was difficult to differentiate its policies.

He said: "We will see the greatest growth in specialist areas such as FINPRO [financial and professional risks] and Risk Solutions [which handles larger risks]."

McManus also said the insurer would be looking to set up more schemes and offer binding authority arrangements with specialist commercial brokers.

"We want to be a specialist insurer with a multi-niche strategy," he added.