Legal & General, Britain's third-largest insurer, today reported a £1.07bn loss for 2008 due to investment losses and cut its dividend.
The shortfall compared with a profit of £724m in 2007.
Gross written premiums rose to £5.9bn from £4.79bn in 2007.
The company slashed its full year dividend to 4.06p per share compared with 5.97p in 2007, and said it expected 2009 to be another difficult year.
Legal & General shares fell 4.7 per cent to 40.8p in early trading on the London Stock Exchange.
"We will be selective about sales growth and are reducing new business capital strain through product design and pricing action," said Group Chief Executive Tim Breedon.
"Today's dividend decision reflects our realism about the current environment, but also our confidence in the business model and underlying strength of the company to trade through current economic uncertainty and emerge stronger after the recession."
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies