Interviewed in the Financial Times after his company reported a 24 per cent downturn in interim pre-tax profits, RSA’s Andy Haste denied the insurer was experiencing any “broad-based” upturn in claims volumes due to the recession.

For Haste, the pivotal issues in running an insurance company appear to revolve around which direction one faces in. Lady Thatcher may famously have set herself against it, but turning makes the world go round in Haste’s book.

“We are tightly managing claims and costs,” he told the pink paper, with stately echoes of Queen Victoria in her pomp, “but we have not turned away from growth.” He did note however that “we have turned away from markets where it is too bloody to compete” citing mid-market commercial by way of illustration.

RSA is also apparently turning its back on PI cover for UK law firms with “fewer than three” partners because these turn out to be more claim-prone in a downturn.

Suddenly sounding less like Queen Victoria and more like a single male en route for South East Asia, Mr Haste bragged about still having a strong pipeline, telling the FT “because of the dislocation that’s gone on, there are good opportunities out there, mainly in emerging markets.”

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