By Blessing Akporughe
Mutual benefits Assurance Plc is strategically focusing on developing innovative customer-centric products, increasing market share and concentration on core insurance business.
Chairman of the company, Mr. Akin Ogunbiyi who disclosed this to shareholders at the company’s 20th annual general meeting in Lagos said that gradual divestment from non-core insurance businesses allowed the company to grow its businesses, manage profitability in a difficult business environment and advance key strategic initiatives.
Ogunbiyi said, “To re-position the Group for further opportunities and challenges, in Q2 of 2016 the board directed an analysis of the company’s strategy and structure, incorporating the best insight from within the Group, KPMG consultants, as well as invaluable contribution from the Board of Directors.
The result is a new strategic roadmap to be implemented from Q4 2016. The themes of strategic thrust are to deepen market penetration / customer acquisition; embed customer and service delivery excellence; transform people and culture; and drive operational effectiveness.”
He said that the bedrock of this strategic direction is the leverage on disruptive technology – use of electronic decision tools across all businesses, adding broader datasets, and embedding analytics.
On the financial results of the company, Ogunbiyi said that the economic challenges which characterized the year 2015 cascaded down t the results of the Group and Company.
“The Group’s gross premium written declined marginally by 6% from N15.5 billion in 2014 to N14.6 billion in 2015. This shortfall was driven by the general lull in the economic activities during the year resulting in delayed investment decision and low disposal income.
“Though the underwriting profit for 2016 reduced to N3.9 billion from N5.2 billion in 2014 (a decline of -26%), it was one of the highest in the country as a percentage of net premium income at 50.3%. This height was achieved as a result of strong risk mitigation strategies adopted by the management.
“Divestment from some non-insurance subsidiaries in 2015 (Mutual Model Transportation Limited and Charks Investment Limited) contributed negatively to the -18% decrease in profit after tax from N4.2 billion in 2014 to N0.8 billion in 2015. Other key contributor was a fair value gain in investment properties of N2.6 billion in 2014 that was not repeated in 2015.
“It is worth nothing that our foreign investments (Mutual Benefits Assurance Liberia and Mutual Benefits Niger Republic) contributed about 13% to the bottom-line of the Group in 2015. Key business trends from these subsidiaries in 2016 remain positive with dividends already distributed by Mutual Benefits Liberia. The Group’s asset base grew by +5% from N44.1 billion in 2014 to N46.1 billion in 2015 following the growth of +16% in the shareholders’ fund.