Direct Line's Profit Rises On Fewer Home Insurance Claims
"We view this as an indication that the balance sheet is strong," RBC Europe analyst Gordon Aitken said. "Management is demonstrating it has no desire to hoard capital which is rare in the European insurance sector, in our view." Pretax profit increased about 70 percent to 312.8 million pounds ($521.83 million) in the year ended December 31. Fourth-quarter pretax profit rose 51 percent to 90.9 million pounds, despite an unusually strong spate of storms that inundated chunks of Britain during the period. "2013 earnings and adverse weather losses so far in 2014 are better than our expectations," Aitken said, maintaining his 'outperform' rating on the stock. Net earned premiums fell 5 percent to 3.52 billion pounds.
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