FBD Holdings on track to meet new solvency rules

Insurer’s market value has fallen by half in the past 12 months

Former FBD chief executive Andrew Langford pictured with chairman Michael Berkery.

Former FBD chief executive Andrew Langford pictured with chairman Michael Berkery.

 

FBD ha said its plans to meet new solvency rules next year are on track as the Irish insurer struggles to return to profit and Andrew Langford unexpectedly quit as chief executive officer last week.

Dublin-based FBD said it’s “no different” to other European insurance companies readying for the implementation of Solvency II rules on January 1st.

The company responded to Bloomberg News questions after an Irish Farmers Journal report on its capital on Thursday in Dublin.

“Plans are on course for FBD to continue to be in full compliance with all requirements by the due date,” Pat Walsh, a spokesman for the company, said in an e-mail on Friday in Dublin. He didn’t give any more details.

FBD’s market value fell by half in the past 12 months as Mr Langford twice cut its 2014 earnings forecast and reported a worse-than-expected loss.

The shares dropped 4 per cent on Thursday in Dublin, after the Farmers Journal reported that a FBD plan to exit its property and leisure assets is unlikely to provide the insurer with adequate capital to meet the new rules.

“I don’t think the company will be in a position to be specific on how much capital is needed” when it reports first- half earnings later this month, John Cronin, an analyst at Investec in Dublin said.

“To the extent that a capital shortfall is identified, I think they are likely to consider both a subordinated bond issue and an equity raise.”

Last month, Irish state-owned health insurer Vhi Insurance said Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. granted it a subordinated loan, bolstering its capital reserves.

Fiona Muldoon, a former head of insurance and banking regulation at the Central Bank, took over as interim chief executive after Mr Langford quit last week.

In May, the company said it would scrap its interim dividend to protect its finances.

FBD is due to publish first-half earnings figures on August 25th.

Under existing insurance capital rules, known as Solvency I, FBD had a solvency level of 67.6 perc ent of net premium earned at the end of 2014, almost three-and-a-half times the minimum requirement. FBD said in March it estimated it would have “sufficient capital” to meet its requirements under Solvency II rules.

The company’s shares dropped 0.3 per cent to 7.06 euros in Dublin at lunchtime, valuing it at €244.5 million.

Bloomberg