Shares in insurer FBD Holdings rose today after it reported profits of €50m for 2018 and said its new business levels were strong despite competitive challenges.

The insurer had reported profits of €49.7m in 2017.

The company said its underwriting profit for the year rose to €63.4m from €44.9m in 2017.

It noted that Storm Emma was the only extreme weather event in 2018, with a net cost after reinsurance recoveries of €6.6m. It said it had received over 1,200 claims as a result of the blizzard like conditions. 

FBD Insurance said it is proposing to more than double its dividend to 50 cent per share for the year on the back of its strong results.

The company said its gross written premium for the 12 months to December came to €371.5m, in line with the figure of €372.5m for 2017. 

Fiona Muldoon, FBD's group chief executive, said the company's continued focus on underwriting discipline had delivered "excellent" underwriting profits for 2018.

"In 2019 we are focused on our growth plans as a strong, independent Irish business," the CEO said. 

"While the impact of any Brexit is unwelcome to FBD and to our customers, we are resilient and we will navigate this together with Irish farming and with all other Irish businesses," Ms Muldoon added.

Commenting on the claims environment, FBD said that more moderate inflation is evident across the claims environment, though the cost of claims continues to remain high.

It said the level of increases in the average cost of smaller injury claims has slowed, though it also observed a significant increase in the average cost of motor damage and property claims over the course of the year.

"We urgently need an injection of pace from policymakers in the delivery of the recommendations from the Cost of Insurance Working Group in order to deliver reform and reduce insurance costs for our customers," the insurer said.

Shares in the company moved higher in Dublin trade today.