Lloyds TSB General Insurance has reported a 22% increase in profit before tax to GBP37 million for 2005 on a rise in sales for motor and house insurance over the internet.

Net operating income improved by GBP26 million and claims fell GBP17 million to GBP197 million. The insurance arm of the UK banking group said that the strong results were driven by online sales, which increased by 9% during the year.

Phil Loney, managing director of Lloyds TSB Insurance, said: Sales through direct channels have grown in an intensely competitive environment. Both our supply chain collaboration and claims reengineering programs are delivering improved efficiencies which have helped underpin a reduction in the combined ratio for the second consecutive year to 80.8%.

The insurer said that for 2006 the softening personal insurance market would continue and the company would focus on attracting new business for home insurance through Lloyds UK retail banking operations.