FBD: High insurance premiums are here to stay

As the insurer announces a return to profit in 2016...

FBD: High insurance premiums are here to stay

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FBD Holdings earned a pre-tax profit of €11m in 2016, as it reports that the Irish insurance market has "stabilised somewhat".

The profit was aided by a one-off pension gain of €7m, and reversed the company's fortunes from the previous year, when it suffered losses of €85.9 million.

Average premiums were up by 9%. Net claims incurred came to €217.5 million, down from €341.3m in 2015.

The insurer said that it had targeted the farm and SME sectors in 2016.

CEO Fiona Muldoon stated:

"I am pleased to note that FBD has returned to profit helped by an unusually mild winter so far and our own strong underwriting actions.

"Our strong customer relationships and the level of service we provide have ensured good retention in our key customer groups despite some of the necessary price increases they have experienced."

'Significantly higher premiums...'

Muldoon admitted that premiums in Ireland will remain high until there is structural claims reform:

"We welcome the findings of the Government Cost of Insurance Working Group and the focus that it brings to the rising cost of claims for Irish customers.

"It is important that the Government follow through in translating these recommendations into policies and legislation that will deliver a lower cost, sustainable claims environment for the benefit of all customers.

"We look forward to working with others to ensure that these proposals are implemented in ways that will help Irish farmers, small businesses and consumers manage their insurance costs.

"In the absence of implementation of particular sections of a lengthy report, we believe Irish insurance customers will continue to bear the cost of significantly higher premiums than those seen in other countries."