NFU Mutual has reported an overall loss of £290m for 2018 caused by a reduction in investment returns affected by volatile global financial markets.
The major loss, the biggest since 2008, marks a significant U-turn from the £540m profit enjoyed by the rural insurer in 2017.
NFU Mutual said that following several years of growth, global stock markets and the UK commercial property market as a whole experienced a turbulent 2018.
This was reflected by its own investment performance which saw overall investment assets under management by the group decrease by £1.2bn in 2018 to £18.9bn.
But despite the overall loss, the sustained growth of NFU Mutual's core insurance business is good news for its members.
The insurer is rewarding members with Mutual Bonus rates of up to 17.5% after its 2018 financial results marked eight consecutive years of underwriting profit.
All NFU Mutual’s farming General Insurance customers will continue to receive a Mutual Bonus, in the form of a discount off their premium at renewal.
The discounts of 12.5% to 17.5% for those who have insured with NFU Mutual for over five years will be applied from July 2019 until June 2020.
Lindsay Sinclair, Group Chief Executive, said the overall financial performance shows a loss for the year due to the effect of 'global political, social and economic uncertainty'.
“Our financial strength allows us to take a more balanced approach to our long-term investments and the benefits of this are evident in our five-year returns,” she said.
“While stocks and shares may have had a turbulent year across the globe, we believe our investments in companies in the UK and abroad will deliver better long-term value for our members and we expect returns will improve substantially over time.”