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Chuks Udo Okonta
One of the fastest growing underwriting firms in the country, Sunu Assurances Nigeria Plc has posted a Profit Before Tax of N488 million in the financial year 2021 from N313 million recorded in 2020.
This is coming on the heels of huge Covid-19 pandemic, Endsars and other claims paid by the company to individuals and corporate entities in Nigeria.
The N488 million PBT made in 2021 by SUNU and its subsidiary companies, represents a 56 per cent growth when compared to the N313 million realised in 2020.
Gross Written Premium for the Group grew from N4.2 billion in 2020 to N6.1 billion in 2021. This represents a growth of N1.9 billion in value and 46 per cent in percentage terms due to improved financial stability and sustained business relationship in the insurance market.
The total gross claims paid during 2021 increased to N2.6 billion from N1.7 billion in 2020 by 50 per cent largely due to claims resulting from EndSARS protest.
Speaking at the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), the Chairman, Mr. Kyari Abba Bukar said the company was able to achieve this feat despite the economic challenges due to strength and resilience of the board and management.
He disclosed that the net claims expenses for the Group increased from N752 million in 2020 by 81 per cent to N1.4 billion due to huge EndSARS claims while the underwriting profit grew from N1.6 billion in 2020 by 34 per cent to N2. 2 billion in 2021.
This he said, was due to 44. 2 per cent increase in underwriting income from N3.2 billion in 2020 to N4.7 billion in 2021.
He also said that the operating expenses for 2021 amounted to N2.1 billion which represents an increase of 19 per cent from N1.8 billion in 2020.
He added that the investment income for the year amounted to N247 million, a decrease of 28 per cent from 2020 figure of N346 million.
The Chairman attributed this to the decline in the investible funds which was a fall out of increased cash ouflows largely related to claims payments.
Speaking on the insurance sector, he said the year under review was one of the few years in the history of the insurance business in Nigeria that was received with enthusiasm and expectations because it was expected to mark the end of Cevid19 pandemic and its attendant business disruptions.
He said: “In fact, most stakeholders tagged it the year of recovery and rebuilding for the insurance companies. Despite rising claims, the industry came out strong and resilient. However, the Delta and Omicron variants of the pandemic compounded the problems leading Nigerans unto the fourth wave of the pandemic as declared by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“Earlier in the year, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) released a 3-year strategic plan on what to expect in 2021 and beyond. The plan which aims to transform the industry within the period of execution has its foundation on five pillars which are entrenching effective and efficient service delivery, ensuring safe, sound and stable insurance sector, adequately protecting policyholders and public interest improving trust and confidence in the sector and encouraging innovation and promotion of insurance market development. This plan emanated as a result of unexpected events such as Covid19 pandemic EndSARS protest, kidnappings, communal conflicts which occurred in recent times.
“These events altered the modus operandi of the industry’s business conduct, hence the corresponding regulatory response. The insurance sector requires more urgent recovery post Covid19 pandemic to support the recovery and restoration of other businesses. With the industry’s gradual rebound from COVID pandemic, the EndSARS protest posed a setback to the profitability of the insurers and reinsurers in 2021”.
He noted that according to Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) statistics the total claims arising from the destruction of life and properties during the protest was put at N26 billion.
“A total claims lodgment which affected the Company was N10 billion while the amount adjusted at N4 billion, SUNU’s share of the adjusted claims was N1.14 billion
“While insurance penetration level measured as insurance gross premium written as a proportion of GDP still remains an issue for the industry, there is still a significant potential for further significant and sustainable growth in the market. In September 2021, NAICOM launched its online portal in line with its digitalization agenda. This will enhance data collection and bridge the information gap that has characterized the sector in the past”, he said.
The Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer, SUNU Assurances, Samuel Oghenebrume Ogbodu while speaking on recapitalisation said the issuance of 3,010,800,000 ordinary shares at N1 per share by way of private placement to SUNU Participations Holdings SA and SUNU Assurances Vie Cote Divoire SA was completed in February 2021 having secured the requisite regulatory approvals from NAICOM, SEC, NGX, CSCS, CAC, and FRCN.
Ogbodo assured all shareholders and other stakeholders that the company’s fundamentals are growing stronger and steadily.