Royal & SunAlliance disappointed investors yesterday with a "prudent" 4 per cent rise in the 2011 dividend due to tough market conditions, inviting unflattering comparisons with rivals Allianz and Swiss Re.
The news, and results that were a bit poorer than the City was expecting, left the shares the biggest faller in the FTSE 100, down 5.5pat 107p.
In 2011 premiums rose 9 per cent to £8.2bn, while profits leapt 29 per cent to £613m.
Getting on for half of the business is now commercial. Motor insurance, where premiums across the industry have risen on the back of a surge in whiplash claims, is now only 6 per cent of RSA business.
"We think we are reporting a good performance in pretty tricky conditions. Financially we are pretty resilient," said the chief executive, Simon Lee.