Insurance group FBD Holdings has reported pre-tax profits of €52.9m for the year to the end of December, up over 5% on profits for 2011.

FBD said its operating earnings per share rose to 172 cent from 157 cent in 2011.

The company said that operating profit in its core underwriting business for 2012 of €60.4m surpassed the strong performance the previous year.

It said that gross premium written fell by 2% to €344.3m in a market that declined by 5.5%. 

It noted that market rates were ''uneconomic'' in some areas that it had targeted for growth, particularly home insurance and larger premium business insurance.

Net claims incurred improved by 5.1% to €191.9m. The company said that good progress was made in reducing those elements of claims costs within its control, while it also benefited from factors over which it has less influence, especially the low level of weather related claims last year.

FBD said its final dividend rose by 29% to 30 cent, which saw full year dividend growth of 22.5%.

In its results statement, it said that economic uncertainty has reduced, while Irish domestic demand has stabilised, but added that any growth in the Irish insurance market will be negligible in 2013.

In its outlook, it said it is guiding full year operating earnings per share of between 145 and 155 cent for 2013, excluding any exceptional events that may arise.

''2012 was another excellent year for the group. In addition to the outstanding results, we invested further in our business to ensure continued delivery of superior performance in future years,'' commented the company's chief executive Andrew Langford.

''The 29% increase in final dividend reflects the board's confidence that the group can continue to outperform its peers,'' he added.

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