Fewer home insurance claims despite the dismal weather this winter helped Direct Line Insurance Group notch up a sharp rise in profits last year.
The insurer, whose brands include Churchill, Privilege and the Green Flag roadside recovery service, said it would pay a final dividend of 8.4 pence per share, 5 per cent higher than last year.
It also announced a special dividend of 4p per share, taking total dividends for 2013 to 20.6p per share.
Pretax profit increased by about 70 per cent to £312.8million in the year ended December 31. In the final three months of the year profits rose 51 per cent to £90.9million, despite an unusually strong spate of storms that hit parts of Britain during the period.Direct Line shares were buoyed by the strong results, adding 6p at 267p in late morning trade.