By Ifeanyi Ugwuadu
Union Assurance Insurance Company has reported a 36 percent increase in its gross premium income for 2008 at N2.72billion against N2billion written in 2007.Â Also net premium rose 28percent at N1.88billion from the previous record of N1.47billion.
However, owing to writedowns following loss of value in quoted equities, the profit before tax declined by 29percent N449.4million from N625.4million in the previous year.Â After tax position also shifted downwards at N390.4million from N540million.
Similarly, as a result of very significant loss of investment in equities, total assets improved only marginally by 3.9percent at N7.48billion from the preceding position N7.2billion. But insurance funds during the year under review outstripped 2007 achievement by 32% at N1.38billion from N1billion.
However, no dividends were declared as the company said its profits will be ploughed back into the restructuring of the company to guarantee much better dividends in the coming years. The company said it has bought a new 10-storey head office to serve its expanding operations.
Chairman of the company, Mrs Funke Osibodu said the company is re-engineering to take advantage of emerging opportunities and subsequently, swing itself up the top five insurance companies in Nigeria. â€œIndeed, we already taken the first step towards achieving this objective with the purchase of a head office building.
With this purchase of the 10-storey building located strategically on 95 Broad Street and the change in management, a major re-organisation is ongoing aimed at re-branding and re-engineering th whole of our operations in order to deliver superior value to our shareholders,â€ she stated in her address.
Osibodu who doubles as the group managing director of Union Bank was confident that given the experience of Gowin Odah,Â the new managing director of the company, â€œhe is well equipped to face the onerous task of piloting the company to the first five insurance companies in Nigeria in the very near future.
The companyâ€™s CEO informed Vanguard at an interview recently; â€œwe are in the process of establishing a structure that can rapidly grow this business because the primary objective is to take this company to the next higher level in terms of growth.. And for that to happen you must have a strong plan to see this growth through.â€
â€œTherefore, the structure has to be built to give stability to the aims we are trying to achieve. This includes the organisational structure itself because when you have a strategy in place, you must have a structure that supports that strategy, he stated
Furthermore, he reasoned that â€œif you have a growth strategy, the structure that supports that strategy has to be put in place. Precisely, we have a new organogram that will make it possible for us to grow our business. Of course, it is also important to tackle the issue of growth itself on the platform of how rapidly one wants to grow and what is the most viable growth strategy, he disclosed.