Storm Emma cost FBD just under €7 million in claims, FBD Holdings plc chairman Liam Herlihy told shareholders at the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) today.

Herlihy discussed the firm’s trading performance over the course of 2017, noting: “FBD’s 2018 trading performance to date has been solid, although we have been impacted by the poor winter weather.

“In particular, Storm Emma is expected to have an overall net cost (after reinstatement premia) of marginally less than €7 million, having resulted in over 1,200 claims to date – predominately in the east and south of the country.

“We are currently working closely with our customers to compensate them for the damage caused to their homes, farms and businesses,” he added.

This was roughly in line with what early estimates had put the cost at, having ranged from €6 to €8 million.

Our Catastrophe Property Reinsurance programme has worked well to protect FBD and mitigate the net impact of this storm.

The chairman also made the point that attritional weather claims are somewhat higher than last year, due to the prolonged poor weather.

Continuing, he said: “However, the underlying profitability of our business continues to be sound. In this current low interest rate environment, investment income continues to be very low and – as a result – our focus is on underwriting discipline and careful growth in our core markets of farm, business and consumer, as the Irish economy expands.”

So far in 2018, Herlihy said the company has modestly grown its customer and premium levels.

FBD has embarked on a major multi-million euro branch investment and rebranding programme for all 34 FBD branches nationwide.

The chairman also noted that FBD intends to open a second Dublin branch on Baggot Street, Dublin 4, next month.

“The FBD Baggot Street branch will complement the new FBD Northside branch opened in Drumcondra, Dublin 9, in late 2017.

“This expansion of our nationwide branch network is part of our strategy to bring our excellent Irish insurance expertise and value to the local businesses and consumers of our capital city,” Herlihy concluded.