Aviva Ireland said its operating profits rose by 15% last year to €113m from €99m in 2017. 

Despite what it called more challenging market conditions in its general insurance business, operating profits at the division increased by 4% to €63m. 

The company's Combined Operating Ratio, a key measure of profitability, remained "robust" at 91.5% and was in line with 2017's level of 91.4%. 

Its Net Written Premiums declined marginally by 2% to €485m from €498m in what it called an increasingly competitive market.

It its Life Insurance business, Aviva Ireland said its new business premiums rose by 14% to €1.367 billion from €1.197 billion the previous year.

Aviva noted significant growth in sales of individual pensions and protection last year and operating profits at the life insurance unit grew by 31% to €50m from €38m. 

The company's deal to buy Friends First completed on June 1 and it said the integration of the two businesses is progressing well with Friends First contributing significantly to its life operating profits last year.

Aviva Ireland said it was supporting measures to increase pensions coverage among those in full-time employment from its current level of less than 50%. 

"We are supportive of a new Auto-Enrolment retirement savings system as a supplement to existing private pension arrangements, but advocate that existing tax reliefs for retirement savings should not be further reduced," John Quinlan, Aviva Ireland's chief executive said. 

"We are also advocating that customers should be able to access independent financial advice for all forms of retirement savings, including Auto-Enrolment when launched," he added.

Mr Quinlan also called for further government-led progress in reducing personal injury claims costs to enable insurers to bring motor insurance premiums down to more sustainable long-term levels. 

"The high levels of personal injury awards have also been a factor in the increased cost of commercial insurance for our business customers and further reforms are required here to reduce claims costs," he added.