FBD Holdings posted its preliminary results for the 2016 calendar year on Monday, reporting an 11m profit before tax from continuing operations, including a one-time pension gain of 7m, swinging from a loss of 85.91m in 2015.
The London-listed firm said its full year combined operating ratio was 99%, helped by both its own "strong underwriting actions" and benign winter weather.
Gross written premiums stood at 362m, down from 363m, driven by a reduction in broker business, largely offset by price increases in some products along with "strong retention" of core customers.
Basic earnings per share were 26 euro cents, compared to losses of 216 cents in 2015, while net assets per share improved to 651 cents from 623 cents.
FBD's board said improved risk selection and price adequacy drove a lower loss ratio, and it made further "strong progress" on strategic initiatives during 2016.
Those initiatives included a continued focus on the Irish farm and small business sector underpinned by a single brand consumer strategy, the successful completion of an enhanced transfer value offering to deferred members of the defined benefit pension scheme, further pricing and underwriting action returning the business to a modest full year underwriting profit, and the roll out of an IT policy administration system in the second half of the year.
"I am pleased to note that FBD has returned to profit helped by an unusually mild winter so far and our own strong underwriting actions," said group chief executive Fiona Muldoon.
"Our strong customer relationships and the level of service we provide have ensured good retention in our key customer groups despite some of the necessary price increases they have experienced."
Muldoon commented that, while the firm saw some degree of stabilisation in the cost of claims, the board believed insurance premiums in Ireland would remain high until structural claims reform was successfully executed.
"We welcome the findings of the Government Cost of Insurance Working Group and the focus that it brings to the rising cost of claims for Irish customers.
"It is important that the government follow through in translating these recommendations into policies and legislation that will deliver a lower cost, sustainable claims environment for the benefit of all customers."
FBD's management was looking forward to working with others to ensure the proposals were implemented in ways that will help Irish farmers, small businesses and consumers manage insurance costs, Muldoon added.
"In the absence of implementation of particular sections of a lengthy report we believe Irish insurance customers will continue to bear the cost of significantly higher premiums than those seen in other countries.
"Notwithstanding the challenges in our market I believe we are well positioned to make further progress during 2017."