FBD Holdings plc, which grew from insuring mainly farming customers to one of Ireland's largest property and casualty insurers, has reported an underwriting profit of €96m compared to €4m in 2020.
The results mean a proposed 100c dividend per share compared to no dividend last year.
One of the big clouds hanging over the business last year was the possibility that a big payout due to COVID-19 business interruption, especially to pubs, was on the cards.
FBD says the quantum hearing judgement delivered on 28 January 2022 has provided considerable clarity and the best estimate now net of reinsurance is reduced to €44m.
FBD Holdings also says the application of reinsurance cover for such claims has been agreed with re-insurers, which reduces the uncertainty surrounding re-insurance recoveries.
Claims were well down given the COVID-19 impact on businesses and life in general. Net claims incurred (net claims and benefits plus movements in other provisions) reduced by €85.4m to €145.7m from €231.1m in 2020.
FBD says the average premium was down 1.3% across the portfolio, with private motor insurance down 13.9%.
There is, however, a court backlog leading to delayed settlements so there is still some uncertainty in that space over claims projections.
No significant weather events occurred during 2021. FBD says December’s Storm Barra brought with it the highest number of property claims in any month of 2021, with a claims cost of €4m. Overall the company says weather claims costs of approximately €9m were very similar to the weather costs experienced in 2020.
Ordinary shareholders’ funds at 31 December 2021 amounted to €472.4m up from €384m in 2020. The difference is mainly down to profit generated.
On personal injury claims, FBD is seeing reduced awards and is hopeful that consistency in awards and a real reduction in claims settlements in personal injury cases should come through. They have proposed a 100c dividend per share which amounts to over €35m and will be subject to shareholder approval at the AGM in May.
Farmer Business Developments plc and FBD Trust Company Ltd have a substantial shareholding in the FBD Group. Both companies have subordinated debt investment in the Group.
Farmer Business Developments holds a €21m investment and FBD Trust Ltd holds a €12m investment. Former Glanbia chair and current Teagasc chair Liam Herlihy is chair of FBD Holdings.
Tómas Ó Mídheach became the insurance company’s new chief executive and an executive director of both the group and of FBD Insurance in February 2021.
Prior to joining FBD, Ó Mídheach held the position deputy CEO and was an executive board Member of AIB. Ó Mídheach replaced interim CEO Paul D’Alton, who had replaced Fiona Muldoon, who had been appointed in 2015.
Commenting on the results, Ó Midheach said: “I am delighted to report a strong and robust set of full year results for FBD. On the insurance front, we saw the introduction of the personal injury guidelines, which have enabled us to reduce premiums for our customers as we reflect expected lower costs for minor injury claims.
“As we move into the full reopening of the economy and all restrictions are lifted and as we will see the withdrawal of Government income supports, the real impact on the economy of the pandemic will become clearer, while new opportunities and challenges will arise.
“The business interruption claims judgement received on 28 January provided clarity on the main substantive issue of business closure.
"Interim payments of €30m have already been paid to date and despite many delays due to the complexity of the issues, the path is now clearer to finalising payments.
“We confirmed previously that Government subsidies paid to public house customers with business interruption cover have not contributed to 2021 profits.”
Share price started off at €7.40 in March 2021 and started at €10.50 per share in early trading on Friday morning.