Nicoz Diamond’s GPW up 1% to $15.7 mln in four months to April
HARARE- Nicoz Diamond Insurance’s revenue for the four months to April 2017 grew a marginal 1% with Gross Premium Written (GWP) for the period at $15.7mln compared to $15.6mln reported in the same period last year.
Group managing director Grace Muradzikwa giving a trading update at the company’ s annual general meeting said the group’s revenue remained resilient despite a number of challenges facing the economy.
“The insurance industry continues to face a protracted soft market cycle that has seen clients continuing to negotiate for reduced covers and lower premium rates. This is further exacerbated by the extended payment terms being negotiated,” she said.
According to Muradzikwa, operating cash flow for April was positive, as a result, GWP as at May 2017 is up 11% at $19.5mln from the 2016 figure.
Muradzikwa said while the likely outturn for 2017 cannot be committed to with certainty, efforts will be made towards sustaining profitability achieved in FY16.
“The short term focus is to consolidate and strengthen the position of the company on the local market and we have support of the now largest shareholder NSSA to make it possible,” she said.
In terms of claims experience, the company had a favorable loss experience of 43% during the first quarter of 2017 as risk management initiatives implemented stated bearing fruits. This compares favorably with a loss ratio of 46% in April 2016 and an International benchmark of 60%.
During the period, claims amounting to $2.7mln were paid and Muradzikwa said this was done with ease given the company’s stringent liquidity management processes.
Expense ratios were down to 31% compared to 32% in April 2016 as the company heavily focuses on expense management.
“Even though some regulatory and related changes made in 2016 increased the cost of doing business for the sector and the company in particular, we did all we could to ensure that expenses remain aligned to revenue and this shall continue to be an area of focus,” Muradzikwa said.
In an environment with incessant liquidity problems, premium collection has remained a challenge and to facilitate ease of payments the company had deployed point of sale machines throughout its branches nationwide as well as put in place mobile transfer options.
She said the company had also upgraded its ICT system and harnessing it as a crucial business enabler bringing efficient and convenient service to customers.
“We are doing everything possible to safeguard and sweat all our investment assets. Even though money market rates and property returns are currently depressed, the recent run in the Stock Market is encouraging,” she said.
The company is obtaining good rental yields from the completed phase of Diamond Villas. The final phase of the project was completed in 2016 but leasing was delayed by the connection of key utilities.’
“The units are now expected to be fully leased out from July 1, 2017. Additionally, the company has put the disposal of the units on hold to maximise on rental returns while preserving value until the market conditions present lucrative opportunities to dispose.
In the region, Diamond General Zambia and UGI Malawi traded profitably in the 4 months but Diamond Seguros Mozambique is still in negative territory.
Muradzikwa said all the three regional markets are still volatile and characterised by high inflation and exchange rate depreciation.
She said the company will, going forward, ensure that UGI Malawi contributes positively in 2017 while for Diamond Seguros Mozambique and Diamond General Zambia will be capitalised with the companies at various stages of potential investor engagements.
At the AGM directors and audit fees were approved at $82 220 and $97 472 respectively.