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Chuks Udo Okonta
Universal Insurance Plc., one of the old generation insurance underwriting firms, has proved itself as a force to reckon with in the new normal of insurance industry business in Nigeria by posting N2.2 billion Gross Written Premium (GWP) in the first half of the business year, 2020.
The Company despite the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, has generated over 100 per cent income within the period well above what it recorded during the same period in 2019 and over the total income generated in the 2019 business year.
A review of the Half year Financial results for the year 2020 uploaded by the Company via the Issuers Portal of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, revealed a whopping N2.2billion Gross Written Premium in the first half of 2020 as against N1.2billion recorded within the same period in 2019. The results also show a profit after tax of N209million recovering from a loss position of N173million recorded within the same period in 2019.
In an interview with Ben Ujoatuonu, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, he revealed that Universal Insurance Plc was rated among the top insurance firms in Nigeria in terms of effective communication with clients online during the pandemic as published by Alexa Rating Agency.
According to Ujoatuonu, the summary of the Company’s Audited Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2019, showed that the topline grew marginally and showed a recovery from a loss position of N47million in 2018 in Profit after Tax as against N65million in 2019.
The Balance Sheet also showed a significant improvement in performance as the Non-Life Insurer showed strength by reducing its liabilities from N3.4 billion in 2018 down to N1.7billion in 2019, implying that the Company, in its bid to meet the recapitalisation agenda of the regulatory body, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), is forging head-on to meet the statutory requirement long before the final whistle is blown.
He further stated that by this performance, the Company has already achieved 71 per cent of the first segment of its recapitalization plans which is way above the 50% mark set by NAICOM come December 31, 2020.
The Company’s Shareholders’ Fund however, dropped from N9.4billion in 2018 to N8.3billion in2019 while the Assets value decreased from N12.8billion in 2018 to N10billion in 2019. The Company recorded growth in Gross Written Premium to N1.8billion in 2019 from N1.6billion in 2018.
“For 2019 our topline was better than what we had in 2018 even though it was marginal, but it showed levels of improvement from what we had in 2018.
“Our results for 2018 showed a loss of about N47 million but we recorded N65million profit in 2019. Also, our Balance Sheet showed a significant reduction in our negative retained earnings. It moved from N2.1billion in 2018 down to N1.7billion in 2019. What this also means is that we have improved our capital as required by NAICOM in its recapitalization programme” he stated.
Continuing further, he said, “Going by the 2019 Audited Accounts and considering the NAICOM capital computation, Universal Insurance Plc. has its capital in excess of N7.1billion or 71 per cent of the N10billion capital requirement. What this means is that Universal Insurance Plc. has met the first segment of the 50 per cent of new capital by December 2020”.
Ujoatuonu explained that the growth in Gross Written Premium from N1.6billion in 2018 to N1.8billion in 2019 and the performance of the Company in the first half of the year were signs that the Company has launched itself on the path of growth.