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Red River Mutual hopes to recover from a difficult year in 2018, which saw the company's year-end bottom line dip into the red.

The Altona based insurance company says losses from fire and weather incidents increased by 19.4 million dollars over the year previous, which helped push total gross incurred losses to 65.5 million dollars. That resulted in a $2.5 million loss on insurance operations compared to a profit of 11.2 million in 2017.

"We experienced a fair bit of weather this last summer, which for us is primarily hail claims, and an unusual number of fires both in severity and numbers, which compounded the overall losses to our company," said President and CEO, Brian Esau.

The company's investment portfolio performed poorly as well during the year with returns totalling $400,000, down from $4.2 million in 2017, and contributed to a net loss of $800,000 on overall operations.

Red River Mutual was not the only insurance company that struggled last year. Esau says 2018 was a difficult year for the industry as a whole across Canada with other companies incurring significant losses as well. That has prompted some insurance companies to move in a certain direction to help offset some of those losses, according to Esau.

"One of the things that is happening in the industry is the price of insurance is going up. We're seeing that in commercial space in particular, and we expect that to be part of the solution to these challenges the industry is facing."

Esau is hoping for better times in 2019 and feels things are tracking in the right direction so far, especially with their investment portfolio.

"The fourth quarter last year was really tough for investments, and while we've made up for it in the first quarter of 2019, it's small comfort at the end of the year."

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