An £111 million improvement in CGU's general insurance underwriting results has not been enough to lift the group's general insurance profits above 1998 levels.

The group's general insurance business achieved profits of £459 million for the year ending December 1999, but this was £23m down on its 1998 result (£482m).

CGU's overall pre-tax operating profits, including life business, stand at £1.1 billion for 1999, (compared to £1.29bn in 1998).

Chief executive Bob Scott said the improved underwriting results re- flected management action and merger expense savings.

But underwriting results were slightly offset by £70m worth of storm damage claims.

And the group's returns from long term investments were 11% lower than the year previously.

Scott also disclosed that CGU intends to dispose of its US general insurance business after a review concluded that it was unlikely to reach a leading position without a substantial level of investment.

He said CGU has made excellent progress in the integration of its businesses following the General Accident and Commercial Union merger in 1998. Cost savings were £222m in 1999.