England's second national lockdown is unlikely to have much impact on insurer RSA as many policies now have pandemic-related exclusions, its chief executive said today as it reported a rise in underwriting profit in the first nine months. 

England started a month-long lockdown today as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tries to prevent Covid-19 running out of control and overwhelming health services. 

Lockdowns and other restrictions around the world have resulted in many disputes between businesses and insurers over the payment of claims for business interruption. 

Insurers have put exclusion clauses into their policies as a result, saying the pandemic is now a "known event" which cannot be covered by insurance. 

"There'll be some claims," CEO Stephen Hester told Reuters. "We don't expect any material claims, in part because the COVID exposures have been running off," he added. 

RSA also has large operations in Ireland, Canada and Scandinavia. 

Rising commercial insurance rates, lower non-pandemic related claims and a tightening up of its underwriting strategy boosted RSA's underwriting profit in the first nine months of 2020, despite the impact of Covid-19. 

RSA's combined ratio, a measure of performance in which a level below 100% indicates a profit, stood at 90% in the third quarter, compared with 93.6% at the end of 2019. 

RSA did not give full profit numbers in its third quarter trading statement. 

But it said investment income was lower in the year to date, and group net written premiums fell 3% to £4.7 billion. 

RSA is appealing some policy wordings in a case brought by Britain's Financial Conduct Authority against eight insurers over business interruption insurance claims. 

The insurer said today that it was revising down its initial estimate of the gross impact of the September ruling by around £20m. 

RSA has previously said paying claims on the policies would cost around £104m, but some of this would be covered by reinsurance.