With Danny Walkinshaw

Top of the pile this week was Aviva’s half year results, which saw its UK general insurance profits increase 15% to £326m.

The owner of Norwich Union saw its total operating profit rise 7% to £1,233m and a combined operating ratio of 98%.

The company, which is set to scrap the Norwich Union brand, also revealed it would deliver cost savings of £200m at its UK business in 2008 following a restructure that saw 1,800 jobs go. Aviva group chief executive Andrew Moss said the company wanted to deliver a “unified and more profitable company” in line with its ‘One Aviva, twice the value’ vision. Online visitors were also keen to read insurancetimes.co.uk’s follow-up analysis: “Could Norwich Union's influence be about to push up rates?”.

News surrounding the sale of RBS’s insurance division continues to receive healthy traffic. Reports that US insurer Allstate had submitted a bid was the second most popular story of the week. The reports suggested that the bid was lower than the £7bn price-tag for the insurance businesses, which includes Direct Line and Churchill. Expect to see this story in the top five again in the coming months.

The launch of a new network from Broker Direct, the broker-owned insurance management company, was in third place. The network, OurNetwork, has opened its doors to IIB members. insurancetimes.co.uk’s follow-up analysis, ‘The heat is on’, looked at what impact the new network could have on the broking market.

Finally, Insurance Times’ story on the overhaul at Towergate’s underwriting agency Fusion, continues to receive plenty of online attention, along with consolidator Giles’ acquisition drive that saw it expand into Ipswich.

The most read stories this week on insurancetimes.co.uk

1. Aviva: UK general insurance profits up 15% to 326m pounds
Owner of NU announces growth in operating profit and dividend despite economic turmoil.

2. Allstate bids for RBS Insurance
US insurer makes offer as interest cools in auction.

3. Broker Direct launches new network
Free membership for IIB members.

4. Towergate begins Fusion overhaul with management departures
Underwriting agency confident of reaching binding agreement with RSA despite notice being served by the insurer.

5. Giles acquires Ipswich broker
Consolidator exceeds 40 branches with latest deal.