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Sun, 19 April 2015 18:27:29
Sri Lanka Eagle Insurance says competition eroding profitability
14 Apr, 2009 19:49:58
Apr 14, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka's Eagle Insurance, whose 2008 profits fell 12.0 percent to 463.7 million rupees, says it faces tough competition in motor insurance, higher claims and increasing lapse rates.
Eagle Insurance group's gross written premium had increased by 12.9 percent or 732.2 million rupees to 6.38 billion from the corresponding period of 2007.

The group's gross premium income from the general insurance division went up 9.5 percent to 2.04 billion, while the life insurance arm of the company had contributed 4.32 billion rupees as gross premium income.

But re-insurance costs fell 2.87 percent to 1.06 billion, increasing the net written premium by 16.7 percent or 763.6 million rupees, to 5.32 billion from the same period last year.

"The general insurance market experienced intense price competition especially in the motor sector," chairman Craig Brackenrig told shareholders in the firm's annual report. This affected the profitability of market players due to decreasing premium levels in the industry.

"The increased cost of living affected the long term insurance industry due to insurance being low on consumer priorities, increasing long term insurance lapses and surrenders, hampering new business growth."

The group's investment income has increased 35.2 percent to 1.73 billion rupees, primarily in earnings from government securities.

Net insurance claims and benefits have shot up 40.6 percent or 685.7 million rupees to 2.37 billion, from the corresponding period in 2007.

Net claims from the general insurance portfolio have shot up 61.2 percent to 938.0 million rupees, while net claims in the life insurance business increased by 29.7 percent to 1.43 billion.

In 2008 Eagle Insurance made a net underwriting loss of 90.67 million rupees, up 143.2 percent, from its general insurance business last year. However, it made a 139.2 million rupee profit from investment income, up 12.3 percent from 2007.

Eagle Insurance's underwriting profit from its life insurance portfolio had decreased by 30 percent to 280 million rupees.

"We will walk away from business if it's not profitable," said Deepal Sooriyaarachchi, managing director of Eagle Insurance.

The life insurance business will focus on reducing the lapse rate by selling to selected market segments as improvement in this area will have a significant impact on profitability, he said.

Operating and administrative expenses increased 10.9 percent to 1.56 billion.

Tax expense galloped 641.2 percent to 141.1 million rupees.

Eagle Insurance Group's holdings of government securities have increased by 17.1 percent or 1.65 billion rupees, to 11.6 billion.

Interest income from government securities have shot up 72.1 percent to 1.62 billion rupees.

Long term insurance provisions have increased 15.9 percent to 13.9 billion rupees.

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1. Investor Apr 15
Eagle Insurance's (CTCE) 2008 results were also affected by a SLRs384 m provision on account of net unrealised capital losses (vs SLRs112 m in 2007), which was included within investment income.

As CTCE's fixed income portfolio is unlikely to have required such provisions, this suggests a poor performance from CTCE's equity portfolio.

In this context, perhaps investors and policy-holders would be better served if CTCE's already modest equity portfolio were reduced further.