The company’s results, published on Thursday, reveal that the group made a loss of £409m ($624m, €574m) from the beginning of the year, which it said is “slightly worse” than planned. This figure represents losses for the total group including its non-core sectors.
RSA banked a loss of £16m from the Chile earthquake in September. It also said the strength of the British currency against the rest of its major currency exposures has affected the results.
However, the company claims its UK, Ireland and Canada operations have driven the year-on-year improvement, and said its trading results for the third quarter were strong and ahead of its expectations.
In September, Zurich Insurance abandoned its £5.6bn takeover bid for RSA.
RSA chief executive Stephen Hester called Zurich’s unsolicited approach to buy the company a “distraction”, and said it was “pleasing that [RSA] continued to perform well despite that”.
The insurer has been undergoing a major overhaul of its business over the past year, withdrawing from several markets in order to clean up what it described as its “past weaknesses”.
RSA has defended its results, insisting the Q3 figures show “strong positive momentum” that are “well above” its 2014 results.
“If we can keep the improvements coming, the future is bright for RSA as a high quality, high performing leader in its markets,” said Hester. “Our plans are based on three pillars of work, each going well.
The company’s refocus is nearing completion following the £403m sale of its Latin America operations in September, which is the last major part of its turnaround.
This brought the total disposal proceeds, which also included the sell-off of its businesses in India, China, Hong Kong and Singapore, to £1.2bn so far.
“Our balance sheet and capital work is also approaching satisfactory outcomes,” said Hester, who is the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
“Our complete operational overhaul of the business is showing good results and gathering still further momentum.”
He added that insurance markets remain challenging and the financial markets continue to be volatile: “Within those constraints, RSA is making strong progress on the path to high quality and sustained business outperformance.”