November 22, 2009

GT Assurance to extend insurance services to grassroots populace

By Michael Eboh

Guaranty Trust Assurance Plc has disclosed its plans to extend its services across the length and breadth of the country, bringing insurance services to the door step of a vast majority of the grassroots populace.

Speaking during the listing by introduction of its 10 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N3.00 per share on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Thursday, the Chief Client Officer of the company, Mr. Tosin Runsewe noted that a significant percentage of the country’s population has not subscribed to insurance services, despite its enormous advantage and the failure of major traditional beliefs and system.

He said, “There are enormous opportunities for growth in the Nigerian insurance industry, especially for companies serious about deploying high information technology infrastructures and best practices. It is a known fact that traditional institutions have failed to live up to the demands of members in recent times. A case in point, is in a situation where the immediate family members of a deceased are deprived of the care and goodwill of other extended family members and in most cases are dispossessed of the estate of the deceased.
“These have created a large void in the society, bringing to the fore the need for insurance services. We intended to fill this vacuum, by taking creating awareness on the need for insurance and taking our products and services to the grassroots populace.

Runsewe disclosed that as parts of strategy to cushion the effect of the global financial crisis on its activities and bottom lines, it introduced a variety of innovative products, increased its branch network and also deepened its relationship with new and existing customers and other stakeholders.

According to him, the company will continue with the development of more distribution channels in order to boost its retail sales, through the reinforcement its Bancassurance channels nationwide and also commence the creation of an extensive agency network.
He said, “2008 was a year of unprecedented turmoil in the global financial services industry and economic downturn in the world’s major economies. In Nigeria, we did not escape the contagion. Oil price plummeted from a height of about $150 per barrel in July 2008 to less than $40 per barrel by year-end. The effect on our mono-product economy was instantaneous and dramatic.

“At Guaranty Trust Assurance, we however, run a diversified investment portfolio that gives us flexibility in dynamic and rapidly changing market conditions. Our portfolio consists of investment in fixed income, equity and real estate markets with a fluid but conservative asset allocation policy.”

The company in its 2008 financial statement, recorded a 101 per cent growth in its Gross premium income, from N2.06 billion in 2007 to N4.14 billion in 2008, its profit before tax stood at N2 billion, appreciating by 82 per cent from N1.1 billion recorded in 2007, while its profit after tax grew by 129.27 per cent to N1.88 billion in 2008, from N821.24 million recorded in its 2007 financial year.