Hester's arrival: Baptism of fire or blessing in disguise?

Andrew Pearce

Only three weeks into the job and the former RBS banking chief has just reported, what he even described, as a "poor" set of results for 2013.

Indeed, the insurer's UK and Western Europe performance was so bad that, from the point of view of a journalist, it was almost difficult to know where to start.

So let's start with what most judged were the headline figures. The insurer racked up a post-tax loss of £338m for 2013, an incredible £600m reverse on the £327m profit recorded the previous year.