FBD holdings has cited severe weather events as the key reason behind a fall in its profits in the first half of 2014.

With profits before tax falling to €3.27m from €19.09m in 2013, FBD says the figures were expected to be lower than in the same period in 2013 primarily due to an increased cost of severe and persistent weather and increased frequency of car insurance claims.

FBD also outlines that gross written premium up 5.1% to €184.9m with growth achieved across all customer segments, further increasing the Group’s market share. It also says annualised investment return of 3%, an excellent result in a continuing low return environment

FBD Insurance’s capital base further strengthened with a solvency level of 73.4%, compared to 69.7% at  June 30 2013.

FBD says its interim dividend increased to 17.0 cent per share, demonstrating the Group’s commitment to a progressive dividend policy. Full year operating earnings per share guidance re-affirmed at 70 – 80 cent per share subject to no further exceptional weather events arising

Commenting on the results, Andrew Langford, Group Chief Executive, said: “These are robust results in a period significantly influenced by weather and an increase in claims frequency across the Irish car insurance market. In this period, we have worked tirelessly to put things right for over 9,000 customers directly impacted by the severe weather, at a cost of €44.3 million.

“Our strong position and continuing investment in the Irish market delivered further growth in premium and market share. The increased interim dividend delivers on our commitment to a progressive dividend policy and reflects our confidence in our strategy for the future.”