Towergate Underwriting Group reported profits up by 30% to £12m for last year compared to £9m in 2001.

The group of specialist underwriting agencies expected increased premium income of 20% over 2002 to £205m, from £170m in 2001.

The group recently completed its refinancing from Royal Bank of Scotland, the source of its finance when it launched five years ago.

Peter Cullum, group chairman and chief executive, said its financial performance was equivalent to a return on capital of 50%.

The company revealed its specialist group household business achieved an ultimate loss ratio of less than 45% in 2001, with some lines achieving less than 35%.

A spokesman said early estimates for 2002 were "broadly similar".

Cullum forecast that operating profits would grow a further 20% this year as a result of organic growth.