RSA's net written premiums were flat for the year to date but underwriting profit rose strongly the insurer said today, after it cut back on under-performing business. 

As well as the UK, RSA also has major businesses in Ireland, Canada and Scandinavia.  

The home, motor and commercial insurer warned last year about the poor performance of its London-based international commercial insurance business and pulled out of several lines, including international freight and construction. 

"RSA's results to end September are strong, and consistent with our plans," chief executive Stephen Hester said. 

"Current year underwriting results have sharply improved, with all our regional businesses contributing," he added.

RSA did not publish third-quarter profit numbers, 

Group net written premiums of £4.9 billion were flat overall compared with the first nine months of 2018, but premium income fell 3% in the insurer's UK and international business, which it said was in line with its plans. 

RSA said in August it was reviewing its London commercial insurance business as it reported a 1% rise in operating profit in the first half. 

Years of falling prices due to steep competition in commercial insurance have led many insurers to scale back in the past year. 

RSA said it had started a cost-cutting programme, which incurred an €8m restructuring charge in the third quarter.