Storms hit Independent Insurance

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Storms hit Independent Insurance

INDEPENDENT INSURANCE shares yesterday plunged 12 per cent after the general insurer warned of an estimated pounds 15m hit on UK weather claims this year and said it was postponing a planned move into retail financial services because of recent market turmoil, resulting in another pounds 5m charge.

The company said it expected the net loss from recent UK floods would be pounds 7m, resulting in an estimated total 1998 loss on UK weather claims of pounds 15m, while claims from Hurricane Georges would cost it about pounds 3.5m. The insurer said it had secured significant new business gains in the third quarter and was confident it would achieve a profit on its underwriting business this year. Independent's shares fell 32.5p to close at 229p after it listed the claims losses and charges.

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