UK-based insurance group Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA) has posted an operating profit of GBP488 million for the first nine months of fiscal 2005, an improvement on the GBP241 million recorded in the equivalent period last year.

The company attributed the encouraging return to strong performance across the range of its operations. Group-wide net written premiums reached GBP4.1 billion, and R&SA’s overall combined ration reached 96.7% – down from 101.9% over the first three quarters of 2004.

The combined ratio is viewed as a significant marker of an insurer’s performance, and a return of below 100% indicates profitability from underwriting activity.

Andy Haste, chief executive of R&SA, commented: It’s been a very good nine months for the group with strong performances from each of our core businesses and further progress in derisking the US. We’re delivering against our strategic objectives of sustainable financial performance, selective profitable growth and driving operational excellence.