By Akunne Chika
The global financial crisis and the recent hammer of the Central Bank of Nigeria on five banks including the on-going investigations of the other banks by the apex body may likely erupt crisis of confidence in the financial service sector.
Mr. Dere Otubu, chairman of Staco Insurance Plc at the companyâ€™s annual general meeting in LagosÂ recalled that a lot has happened in the last 12 months in the financial service sector especially insurance industry.
He said,â€œSince the last Annual General Meeting, so much has happened and so much has changed in the financial sector right round the world. During the last quarter of 2008, the financial market experienced a crisis of confidence which resulted in the free fall of equity prices throughout the world.
It would be recalled that Staco Insurance Plc wrote a gross premium income of N4.38 billion as against N2.81 billion recorded the corresponding period of 2007, representing an increase of 55.4 per cent.
Also, the underwriting profit grew by 35.48 per cent from N1.55 billion in 2007 to N2.10 billion. The profit before tax for 2008 stood at N623.48 million as against N868.18 million for 2007, a drop of 28.19 per cent, which was attributed to the â€œdiminution in the value of our capital market investments and the provision for the outstanding premium.â€
Speaking on the Insurance Industry, he stated, â€œThe insurance industry in the year 2008 witnessed tremendous improvement following the recapitalization of the industry. It is noteworthy to mention that the consolidation exercise has started yielding dividends with an inspiring aggregate written premium income of N164.5 billion in the industry in 2008 as against gross premium of N100.6 billion in 2007.â€
On the companyâ€™s dividends, Staco Insurance chairman said that the directors recommended for the approval of the shareholders the payment of a dividend of N96,589,559, that is 2 kobo of ordinary share of 50 kobo each.
Mr. Otubu also said â€œ The year 2009 is no doubt a challenging year in view of the global economic meltdown. However, with the measures being taken by the developed economies of the world to stimulate the financial system, there is hope that the global economy will bounce back soon.â€
He also saidÂ â€œOur company will create opportunities from the present economic situation through innovation, new product development, branch expansion and careful study of government policies. In doing this, we shall put into good use our human capital made up of seasoned professionals to meet the changing economic needs for the benefit of all the stakeholders.â€ He asks for the dedication and co-operation of his staff and colleagues and support of both his shareholders and partners in business so that they can be able to achieve all this.