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UK's Saga in talks to sell underwriting business

(Reuters) -British holidays group Saga Plc said on Monday it was in discussions to sell Acromas Insurance Co, the underwriting unit of its wider insurance division, to help pay down its debt.

Saga's insurance division – the largest business of the group – has been grappling with rising claims, which led to a half-year loss and a warning on full-year earnings in September.

Acromas currently underwrites about 25%-30% of Saga's insurance business, Saga said.

The underwriting business has been experiencing high levels of claims inflation – currently around 13% – increasing costs and hitting profitability.

Saga, which also sells cruise holidays, did not mention who it was in discussion with or a potential selling price.

The company's net debt was 721.3 million pounds ($895.3 million) as of July 31. ($1 = 0.8057 pounds)

(Reporting by Sinchita Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Savio D'Souza)