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RSA hikes dividend as FY'17 profit rises

U.K.-based RSA Insurance Group Plc reported a year-over-year increase in its full-year 2017 net attributable profit to £289 million from £27 million, driven by higher underwriting profits in Scandinavia and Canada.

EPS stood at 26.1 pence, up from 1.8 pence a year ago. Return on equity rose to 7.5% from 0.5%.

Adjusted underwriting profit increased to £394 million from £380 million year over year. The underwriting result from Scandinavia and from Canada increased year over year to £315 million from £239 million and £98 million from £74 million, respectively, offsetting losses of £16 million in the group's U.K. and international division and £3 million in central functions.

Group net written premiums rose to £6.68 billion from £6.24 billion a year earlier. Net earned premiums stood at £6.61 billion, up from £6.34 billion.

Net claims amounted to £4.35 billion, compared to £4.12 billion in 2016. The combined operating ratio came in at 94.0% in 2017, compared to 94.2% a year ago.

At 2017-end, the insurer's Solvency II coverage ratio was at 163%, up from 158% in 2016 and exceeding a 130% to 160% target range.

The firm proposed a final dividend for 2017 of 13.0 pence per share, up from 11.0 pence per share for the previous year. The final dividend, payable May 18 with a record date of March 2, brings the total dividend for 2017 to 19.6 pence per share, 23% higher than in 2016.