DORSET insurer LV= says sales are “steady” after a fall in premium income from its general division but an increase in its life division.

Gross written premiums in the general division stood at £720m in the first half of this year, down from £748m in the same period last year. But in life insurance, the figure was up from £651m to £732m.

Mike Rogers, LV= Group CEO, said: “Six months into 2014, sales in both trading businesses have been steady. General insurance continues to grow its customer base, although we are continuing to see pressure on premiums. Sales in the life business have been strong despite the unexpected budget changes announced in March affecting retirement solutions.”

He said there had been good growth in home and SME insurance, with sales up 22 per cent in the latter field.

He added: “Overall GWP is down compared to 2013, primarily driven by lower rates in motor, which is a large part of our book. However we have recently seen indications that premiums are starting to increase and we expect this to continue over the second half of the year.

“We continue to take on more new customers and now have 4.5 million general insurance policyholders across increasingly diverse product lines, 230,000 more than this time in 2013.”