Fusion parent SVB said it would wait until the end of the year to decide whether it would sell the company.

Speaking to Insurance Times, SVB chief executive Matthew Fosh explained that when the subsidiary was created it was on the basis that it had a five- year contract with SVB.

"This comes to a close in December, and we have been talking about what we are going to do with it, but that doesn't mean we are definitely selling up," Fosh said.

One option, he said, would be to merge Fusion with sister company Novae.

The only problem, he added, was that the two companies operate under different business models.

Meanwhile, pre-tax profits at SVB leaped to a record high of £27.7m for the six months to 30 June 2005.

The company reported a £120.1m loss in the same period last year.

The company's share price jumped 10% to 29.65p within two days of the news breaking.

Fosh said claims stemming from its US long-tail liability losses were "finally beginning to run out of steam."

He added that the company would take a limited hit from Hurricane Katrina of £25m.

He said: "1997 to 2000 were our bad years. That type of claims behaviour peaked after two years.

"We are seeing 2005 as a good year with the majority of our claims paid and notified."