FBD said urgent action needs to be taken to address injury claims payouts as it reported pre-tax profit of €11.9m for the first six months of the year.

This compares with a loss of €3.65m for the same period in 2016.

Gross written premium rose by €8.9m (4.9%) to €189.7m, with the insurer saying better risk selection led to an improvement in loss ratios.

A once-off release of €5.6m from the MIBI,  arising from the recent Setanta judgement, boosted the company's results.

The average premium rate has increased by 5% since the first half of 2016.

FBD shares were over 1% higher in Dublin trade today.

Group Chief Executive Fiona Muldoon described the figures as "a good set of results and reflects the strong actions taken in the last few years.

"Our focus on delivery for our farm, small business and consumer customers has returned our business to profit. Our nationwide network of offices and our midlands-based service centre delivers real value and service to our customers and is why they choose to give us their business in a difficult pricing environment."

On the cost of insurance, Ms Muldoon said: "While we welcome the Government report on reducing the cost of claims for all insurance users, we believe we need urgent reforms to tackle injury claims payouts and to address the impact claims costs are having on the affordability of insurance for farmers, small businesses and consumers up and down the country.

"In the absence of reform, all insurance customers will continue to pay the too-high cost of these awards through higher insurance premiums."

In an investor note, Davy said: "A once-off €5.6m MIBI release, partly offset by restructuring costs of €1.7m, are the key drivers of FBD’s better-than-expected €11.9m PBT (Davy forecast: €7.7m).

"Broadly stable policy volumes, better pricing and an improving underlying COR (96.6% ex-MIBI release versus our forecast 97%) provide further evidence of the recovery in the business.

"NAV of 688c is ahead of our FY forecast of 684c, helped by a positive pension dynamic. We see some upside to our forecasts, notwithstanding still cautious commentary on the claims environment."