Insurer Aviva has posted a 12% increase in full-year operating profit to £3 billion.

The company was boosted by growth in its fund arm, Aviva Investors, as well as its British, Canadian and Irish units. 

But profit after tax fell 22% to £859m, after adding in a £380m exceptional charge to cover the UK government's decision to lower the discount rate used to assess personal injury claim lump sum payouts. 

The company said its performance was helped by a strong rise in cash remittances from its various business units, up 20% to £1.8 billion, helped by a 15% rise in general insurance net written premiums to £8.2 billion.

Life insurance operating profit increased 8% to £2.6 billion, helped by growth in protection, pensions and individual annuities in the UK, protection sales and currency effects in Europe. 

Fund management operating profit, meanwhile, rose 30% to £138m, boosted by a rise in group assets under management to £450 billion, an increase in revenue margin and improved cost to income ratio. 

The company said it would pay a total dividend for the year of 23.3 pence a share, up 12%. 

Strong cash generation of £3.5 billion helped the firm's Solvency II capital ratio, the rainy day cash buffer to any market shock, rise to 189% from 180% in 2015. 

That gave a surplus of £11.3 billion, up from £9.7 billion last year.

As the capital ratio is above the firm's flagged range of 150-180%, Aviva said it was "actively planning to return additional capital to shareholders and reduce hybrid debt in 2017". 

"Aviva's results are simple and clear cut: more operating profit, more capital, more cash, more dividend. And there is more to come," the company's chief executive Mark Wilson said in a statement. 

Meanwhile, Aviva's Irish operation recorded a 20% jump in operating profit last year to €81.9m.

The value of the company's new business here in life & pensions grew by 31% to €29.1m.

Aviva Ireland CEO John Quinlan said: “The results Aviva reports today are due to the outstanding work of our employees, our strong partnership with our brokers, the support of our customers and our continued focus on the delivery of net profitable growth".

"Profit in Aviva Ireland in 2016 was up by 20% to €81.9m," he added.