Friday 23 August 2019

Brexit remains 'major uncertainty', FBD warns

Stock image: PA Wire/PA Images
Stock image: PA Wire/PA Images
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Brexit continues to be "a major source of uncertainty" for FBD, farmers and Irish businesses, the insurer has warned.

The company, which has many farmers among its shareholders and customers, continues to plan for any operational impacts which may arise as a result of the UK's decision to leave the EU, chairman Liam Herlihy said yesterday.

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The Irish and UK insurance sectors are deeply entwined, as is Irish agriculture and the UK food industry. "We will continue to support our customers through this transition," Mr Herlihy added. Shares in FBD were up 1.5pc in early trading yesterday after the group reported a "good" start to the year.

"The underlying profitability of the business is sound as we maintain our underwriting and pricing discipline in the face of continuing strong competition," Mr Herlihy said. "Weather in the year to date has been benign with no significant events occurring."

The insurance group's investments have also been helped by an improving macroeconomic outlook, despite the current low interest rates, he said. "This has benefited our investment return in the year to date." Davy analyst Jack O'Halloran said the update points to a "positive" start to the year.

Earlier this year FBD chief executive Fiona Muldoon warned that cash-strapped farmers might ditch insurance cover in a "nightmare" Brexit scenario.

Irish Independent

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