Take Highway profits

Now is a good time to take profits in Highway Insurance, according to its house broker, Numis Securities.

The broker repeated its 'hold' rating on the shares, and lowered its target from 80p to 70p after cutting its current-year earnings forecast by 25% on worries about lower investment returns.

The bearish move caused shares in the motor insurer to drift lower, and as Insurance Times went to press Highway was languishing at 69p a share. In April, the shares were trading at 93p.

A number of insurers believe now is a good time to float on the stock market.

Heritage Underwriting Agency, the Lloyd's specialist insurer, unveiled plans to list on Aim.

It hopes to raise up to £18m to increase its managed capacity from £230m to around £265m and fund the creation of a new team in underwriting personal accident risks and support planned growth in underwriting worldwide property.

The company hopes to capitalise on the favourable US property market conditions brought about by the 2005 hurricane season

It also expects to grow its property book from £180m to £215m in premium this year and to £260m in 2007.

Richard Pexton, chief executive of Heritage, said: "This is an exciting time for the company and enables us to grow the business in areas we understand.

"We have a top quartile underwriting team, who will have access to more capital to take advantage of current market conditions." IT

' Yvette Essen is stock market reporter for the Daily Telegraph