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All eyes turn to insurers as three prepare to announce their half-year results

THE insurance sector will be in the spotlight next week when Aviva, RSA and motor specialist esure step forward with half-year results.

Aviva chief executive Mark Wilson will want to show the City his turnaround plan has not lost momentum when he unveils the insurer's half-year results on Thursday.

The country's second largest insurer, which has 31 million customers worldwide, is expected to post an operating profit up a modest 4 per cent to £1.05 billion, compared to a year ago, according to brokers at Panmure Gordon.

Analysts at JPMorgan Cazenove expect cost savings the firm has made to be partly offset by winter storms claims in Canada and the UK, a strong pound and the lower sale of annuities for pensions as a result of changes made in the March Budget.

RSA chief executive Stephen Hester will update the market on the rescue plans for the More Than insurer when it posts half year results on Thursday.

The former Royal Bank of Scotland boss joined the firm in February following the resignation of Simon Lee in the wake of three profits warnings and the group's Irish crisis when a £200 million black hole was discovered in the division.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley expect the group to deliver a pre-tax profit of £177 million, compared with £250 million a year ago, due to bad winter weather in Canada and an earthquake in Chile.

Sheilas' Wheels owner esure is expected to reflect the pressures of falling motor premiums when it reports half-year results on Monday.

The Surrey-based car and home insurer, which employs 1,400 people and has over 1.5 million customers, is expected by the market to post flat profits before tax of £56.2 million.

According to the AA, average car premiums fell 19.3 per cent in the year ending June 30 - the largest 12 month decrease since the group started compiling the figures two decades ago.

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