Icy weather hits profits at RSA

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More than parent RSA Insurance has reported a 14 per cent plunge in annual profits as Britain's pre-Christmas snow and extreme conditions worldwide sent weather claims soaring £255m more than normal.

Snow damage and burst-pipe claims left it with UK claims of £110m more than expected in November and December alone, with severe conditions globally and the Chilean earthquake adding to its bill.

The group, which has about a 6 per cent share of the UK household insurance market, posted pre-tax profits of £474m in 2010, down from £554m in 2009.

It said its UK result was "disappointing", with underwriting losses of £95m against profits of £75m in 2009 as the weather claims offset premium-rate increases.