Domestic airlines to resume in-flight catering services

By Favour Nnabugwu

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has smdirected domestic airlines to resume suspended in-flight catering services, following its suspension at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic

Sirika disclosed yesterday at the weekly media briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja

According to the Minister, “The decision was taken in consideration of the businesses involved in the provision of in-flight refreshments who have been adversely affected by the suspension”.

He said, “Modalities and protocols for the resumption of the services would be worked and rolled out by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) which will be in line with international practices.”

Sirika also reiterated the plan to resume international flight operations at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu and the Port Harcourt International Airport.

According to him, “Members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 will be visiting the airports for simulation exercises to ascertain their readiness for international operations.”

He also disclosed that a technical working group comprising of of agencies involved in the facilitation of passengers has been set up to ensure that all standards required for seamless operations at the airports earmarked for resumption of international flights.

On the suspension of Emirates Airlines operations in Nigeria, Senator Hadi Sirika said discussions were on to resolve the issues involved, even as he restated the country’s position on the impropriety of the extra Covid-19 tests the airline was demanding of Nigerian travellers.

Africa insurance industry still at 3% suscription penetration

By Favour Nnabugwu

Africa’s insurance industry has only about 3 percent subscription penetration across the continent compared to the telecoms sector, which has over 72 percent subscription penetration in Africa.

This is because most insurance companies have not fully evolved from the traditional means of doing business to integrated modernization and innovation in their products.

During one of the panel discussions at the 2021 Africa Financial Industry Summit (AFIS) tagged “Insurance: how to (finally) win over African consumers,” the speakers emphasized the need for insurers to understand that customers have evolved and are more open to digitalizes products.

“For insurance to work in Africa, we need to have an understanding of our society and how it is working,” said Corneille Karekezi, Group MD/CEO, African Reinsurance Corporation (AFRICA RE) Group.

Emphasizing the need to educate people on financial literacy and the integration of technology, Souleymane Gning, Directeur Général, Assuraf spoke about the need to educate people and show them the benefits of insurance. “Insurers need to engage the use of technology to reach the masses,” Gning said.

Despite a 7.5 percent year-on-year increase since 2015 in countries belonging to the Federation of African National Insurance Companies (FANAF), these successes have been short-lived. This is partly because while many still lack an adequate understanding of what an insurance plan is, the sector is also struggling to woo customers.

As tech-driven startups are winning the heart of the African market with innovative and affordable products, most insurance companies still approach the fast-evolving market with methods and less innovative plans. Hence, the need to develop civilized ways to approach the customer with innovative products.

“Customers have evolved very quickly in Africa. They are engaging with Telecoms and not us. We need to engage with them in a more civilised manner. We need to open up and ensure that people can engage with us.” Rashidat Adebisi, Chief Client Officer, AXA Mansard Insurance Plc.

Another set of challenges discussed during the session include poverty and financial literacy. A large number of the world’s most impoverished population are found in Africa. This means that many Africans are unlikely to be able to afford an insurance package.

According to a World Bank report, high population growth between 1990 and 2015 caused the number of poor people in Africa to increase from 278 million in 1990 to 413 million in 2015. The bank also forecasted poverty to rise in the continent from 55 percent in 2015 to 90 percent in 2030.

“More than half of the population in our region are below the poverty line and cannot afford insurance. We should integrate insurance into the products that the population is consuming more,” said Souleymane Gning.

Some important measures that could facilitate the growth of Africa’s insurance include a transformed digital economy, new innovative products, and industry consolidation.

The panelists also stressed that the adoption of these measures could cause an influx of customers to the sector. Players from digital and tech-driven sectors have succeeded in captivating the minds of a vast majority of the African population due to the rise in the use of mobile phones on the continent.

“Our competitions are not other insurance companies but the Ubers and tech startups. The speed at which insurers would provide smart and innovative products to consumers would determine growth in the industry,” said Junior Ngulube, Former Vice-Chairman (2020), Sanlam Pan Africa.

IGI announces $31.6m profit in 2020

By admin

International General Insurance Holdings Ltd. (IGI) has reported profit of $10.9 million and $31.6 million for the fourth-quarter and full-year 2020, respectively, as well as an improved underwriting performance for both periods.

IGI Q4 2020, profit more than doubled from the $4.3 million posted in 2019, as full-year profit spiked by almost 34 percent from the $23.6 million recorded in the prior year.

At the same time, core operating income amounted to $4.2 million in Q4 2020 against a loss of $0.1 million in Q4 2019. And, for the full-year, the performance here was also impressive as income reached $34.1 million, compared with $21.2 million in 2019.

IGI attributes the growth in core operating income to a higher level of underwriting income in 2020.

For the quarter, IGI has posted a net underwriting result of $14.7 million, which represents growth of more than 41% from the prior year period. For the full-year, the underwriting result increased by almost 49% to $77.4 million.

Gross written premiums (GWP) spiked by 45.3 percent for the quarter to $129.5 million, and increased by nearly 34 percent for the full-year to $467.3 million. According to IGI, the increases were driven by new business generated across virtually all lines, as well as improved renewal pricing.

Within the underwriting result, IGI has reported a claims and claims expense ratio of 59.8 percent for the quarter, an improvement of 2.7 points over the prior year Q4. This includes current accident year net catastrophe losses of $6.3 million, compared with $8.3 million in 2019.

Prior year reserve development totalled an unfavourable $5.4 million for the quarter, driven by deterioration in prior year loss reserves in both the Long-tail and Short-tail segments, says IGI.

For the year, IGI’s claims and claims expense ratio improved by 1.3 points to 53.5 percent when compared with 2019, and includes current accident year net catastrophe losses of $13.5 million, against $16.2 million for 2019.

Catastrophe losses for the year were driven primarily by the storms that damaged cranes at the Jawaharlal Nehru port in Mumbai, India, and property damage and business interruption losses resulting from Hurricane Laura, both of which are included in the company’s Short-tail segment.

Additionally, IGI has announced favourable development on loss reserves from prior accident years for 2020 of $6.1 million, compared with favourable development of $6.3 million in 2019.

All in all, IGI has recorded a combined ratio of 96.8 percent and 89.3 percent for the fourth-quarter and full-year 2020, respectively. This compares with a combined ratio of 101 percent in Q4 2019 and 94.1 percent for the full-year 2019.

The firm has also provided an update on its inwards reinsurance portfolio during the periods, which represented 4 percent of its gross written premiums for the full-year.

During Q4 2020, net written premiums in the reinsurance division totalled $2.8 million, compared with $2.9 million in the prior year quarter. The net underwriting result was a profit of $2.6 million, which is a marked improvement on the $1.9 million loss posted in Q4 2019.

For the full-year 2020, net written premiums in the reinsurance unit totalled $19.3 million against $18 million in 2019. The net underwriting result also improved in reinsurance for IGI during the full-year, reaching $9.5 million against $0.2 million in 2019, driven by a lower level of claims and claims adjustment expenses.

“2020 has been a successful year for IGI on many levels. Our strong financial performance, achieved during a year of significant distraction and disruption as well as during our first year as a public company trading in the U.S., clearly demonstrates the agility, discipline and focus of our teams and our ability to execute and deliver on our strategy,” said Wasef Jabsheh, IGI’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

“We broadened our footprint by entering new territories and lines of business and increased our market share, with gross premiums up more than 33 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, while maintaining underwriting profitability at a combined ratio below 90 percent. We expect to continue on this path in 2021, although likely at a more measured pace, and with the same careful approach to risk selection and portfolio balance.

“With the first quarter of 2021 almost completed, the indications on price momentum remain very positive, and we are continuing to see exciting opportunities to build and diversify our business. We will continue to be cautious in managing our net exposures to minimize our overall risk profile so that we maintain our long-term track record of generating strong value for our shareholders,” he added.

Linkage Assurance step-up in it’s financials

By Favour Nnabugwu

Linkage Assurance Plc has stepped up the company position in the insurance industry from it’s financial from 2019 to 2020.

The company strive to be among the leading company got its fair share from the recent fortune in the sub-sector.

For the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2019, the underwriting firm’s unaudited fourth quarter report submitted to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) showed a Gross Written Premium (GWP) of N6.52 billion as against N5.59 billion during the same period in 2018, indicating a 21 per cent increase.

From the business generated in 2019 review period, the company also recorded a profit before tax growth of 902 per cent, moving from N134.7 million in 2018 to N1.35 billion during the review period. Profit after tax also grew to N930.24 million, a 421 per cent increase from a loss position of N290.12 million during the same period in 2018.

The performance, according to the company, came from improved underwriting as well as from investment returns, which saw the company coming out stronger during the review period.

Underwriting profit rose by 149 per cent to close at N375.622 million during the review period, as against loss position of N772.48 million the previous year, while investment also grew by 10 per cent, moving from N2.46 billion in 2018 to N2.71 billion in 2019.

The company’s total assets also appreciated by seven per cent to close at N24.72 billion, as against N23.15 billion in 2018. Linkage Assurance began the year 2020 on the downside with a loss after tax of N338.49 million as against a profit of N439.26 million posted in 2019.

Loss before tax stood at N340.193 million from a profit of N627.521 million 2019. However gross premium written grew by 28 per cent from N2.215 billion in 2019 to N2.846 billion in 2020. For Q2’20, the insurance firm recorded a marginal decline of four per cent from N572.77 million in 2019 to N550.44 million in 2020.

Profit before tax grew by 12 per cent to N915.098 million from N818.240 million in 2019. Gross premium written stood at N5.258 billion in 2020 from N4.130 billion in 2019 representing a growth of 27 per cent.

The insurance firm’s gross premium for Q3’20 grew by 28.6 per cent to N6.9 billion from N5.4 billion in the previous quarter of 2019. Profit before tax grew by 76 per cent to N1.5 billion in 2020 from N867 million in 2019.

Profit after tax grew by 90 per cent to N1.1 billion from N592 million in 2019. Net assets grew by five per cent from N23 billion to N24 billion in 2019. Linkage Assurance Plc has reported a 34 per cent increase in profit after tax for the Q4 ended December 31, 2020.

The insurance firm, in a filing with NSE, posted a profit after tax of N1.942 billion in 2020 as against N1.452 million in 2019, representing a growth of 34 per cent. Profit before tax stood at N2.547 billion during the period under review from N1.339 billion in 2019, representing a growth of 90 per cent. Gross premium was N8.332 billion in contrast to N6.519 billion posted in 2019.

The company attributed its continuous growth and market expansion to good relationships with the insurance brokers. The company said its focus going into 2021 and beyond will be to strengthen the relationship by continuously providing efficient services and meeting claims obligations promptly.

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Daniel Braie, stated this at the general meeting of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Lagos Area Council (LAC), hosted by the company in Lagos.

Braie said: “Linkage Assurance Plc recognises the pivotal role of the broker’s community in the growth of insurance business.

“That is why we decided that apart from hosting the national body, we would go a step further to host the various Area Councils across the country. “So far, we have done this in Abuja, Kaduna, Port Harcourt and now Lagos. If not for the COVID-19 pandemic that broke out last year, we would have covered more states.”

According to Braie, Linkage Assurance is still very committed to achieving this objective because of the importance it places on brokers as her strategic partners, as it is committed to delivering on the promises of her vision and mission statements.

He also disclosed that Linkage, from its unaudited result for the year 2020, grew its Gross Premium Written by 28 percent to N8.3 billion from N6.5 billion in 2019.

“The company also achieved profit before tax of N2.5 billion and paid out claims amounting to N2.4 billion during the same period.

“This would not have been possible without your support for which we are grateful. We had the largest aviation treaty in the market last year, and this year we are about the highest in fire treaty. So, we are ready to serve you well,” Braie assured.

In the statement to NSE, Braie said the company would continue to refine its strategy in line with the political, economic, sociological and technological changes within our operating environment.

Braie also said that “the company would continue to develop innovative products, alternative channels of distributions and strategic initiatives that will enable us achieve our corporate goals and objectives. “With a medium-to-long term perspective, the company believes that it will benefit from growth from these initiatives.

“We will consolidate on the ongoing initiatives to improve our operational efficiency so as to reduce the cost of doing business, improve business processes, eliminate wastages and achieve higher margins in our core business,” the company said.