Viewpoints | Apr 10,2021
Global Insurance, one of the oldest insurance firms, netted 36.5 million Br in profit over the last fiscal year, marking 63pc growth. The growth rate was one of the highest recorded in the past fiscal year.
Earnings per share (EPS) also rose by 39 Br, or 44pc, to 127 Br. The insurer’s EPS grew even after Global's paid-up capital swelled by 14pc to 150.8 million Br. The Ethiopian insurance industry's total capital reached 9.7 billion Br last year, registering a 17.9pc increase from the previous period.
This is an awe-inspiring performance that should delight shareholders, according to Abdulmenan Mohammed, a financial statement analyst.
"Achieving such a level of growth in an industry defined by fierce competition must have required hard work, for which the management should take credit," he said.
The positive performance was achieved despite a year that was characterised by both challenges and opportunities, according to Ahmed A. Sherief, the chairperson of Global’s board of directors.
“The breakout of COVID-19 highly affected the business activities of all commercial fields in general and that of the financial sector in particular,” he said.
Tibebe Tesfaye, a general manager of the company, attributes the management's action in controlling claims and expenses, as well as revenues from unearned premiums, as the factors that helped the company achieve a positive performance.
Modest growth in gross written premium, increased retention rate, reduction in claims, and a significant increase in commissions and investment income are the main factors behind Global's improved performance. In the past fiscal year, Global Insurance recorded an underwriting surplus of 26.5 million Br.
The gross written premium also increased by 7.7pc to 118.2 million Br. Out of this, 26 million Br was ceded to reinsurers, leading the risk retention rate of Global to move up by 12 percentage points to 88pc.
The retention rate is very high, according to Abdulmenan.
Net claims paid and provided for fell by 13pc to 41.9 million Br. The reduction in net claims, despite the increased retention rate, helped Global improve its performance.
This reveals that risks were well-managed, remarked the expert.
In the reporting period, the company earned 10.8 million Br in commissions, an increase of 31.7pc, and paid 5.6 million Br in commissions, a 36.6pc rise.
Global did very well in investment activities. Interest earned on savings increased by 42.7pc to 21.4 million Br, and dividends earned on investments grew by 53.8pc to four million Birr. However, other operating income slid by 15.4pc to 12.7 million Br.
(Left to Right) Hikmat Abdella, vice board chairperson, Ahmed A. Sherief, chairperson, and Abdishakur Bedri, board director of Global Insurance, resond to questions during the firm's general assembly held at Hayat Regency Hotel.
Operating and administrative expenses dropped by 27.5pc to 17.7 million Br. Salaries and benefits expenses declined by 13.5pc to nine million Birr, while underwriting expenses soared by 84pc to 32.8 million Br.
Underwriting expenses need the serious attention of the management, according to Abdulmenan.
The figure seems higher, not because the underwriting expenses were increased, but rather because the company started properly recording expenses. Previously, the company was classifying underwriting expenses under general and administrative expenses, according to Tibebe.
"Now, we've rectified this," he said.
By the end of the year, the number of staff in the company stood at 202, 191 of which are permanent. During the year, the company hired 75 new employees, while 51 left.
Global’s total number of branches has reached 94. Last year, the 18 insurance companies opened 37 new branches, and the total branch network of the industry has reached 605.
Global's total assets increased considerably by 13.2pc, reaching 421.6 million Br. Out of this, 123.3 million Br was held in interest-earning fixed deposits, and 34.9 million Br was invested in shares. These investments account for 37.5pc of its total assets.
Liquidity analysis indicates that Global's liquidity level increased in value and relative terms. Cash and bank balances increased by 20.1pc to 71.6 million Br. The ratio of cash and bank balances to total assets increased by a percentage point to 17pc.
The level of liquidity at Global is much higher than its operational needs. Global should use its liquid resources efficiently, according to Abdulmenan.
Global's capital and non-distributable reserves represent 40.2pc of its total assets.
It has a solid capital base, which should be used for expanding business, according to the expert.
Tibebe says that the company has been boosting its capital to have a strong foundation for its target of building headquarters and launching new products such as Takaful, a Sharia-based insurance service, and for investments in information technology.
Recently, Global has started providing Takafulinsurance policies in which members contribute funds into a pool to guarantee each other against losses or damages. It also hired Bamacon Engineering to build its headquarters in Bole District.
PUBLISHED ON Mar 13,2021 [ VOL 21 , NO 1089]
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