ZEP-RE (PTA Reinsurance Company) recorded a marked growth in written premium in the financial year ending December 31, 2018 of USD178.5million up from USD152.1 million recorded in 2017, representing a 17% growth.
The company however experienced a significant rise in claim, a region wide phenomenon that saw most of the regional markets make losses at both insurance and reinsurance level. Despite an increase in loss ratio, the company still realised a profit of USD 10 million.
Speaking at the company’s 28th Annual General Meeting, which was officially opened by the Dr. Chris Kiptoo, Principal Secretary, State Department of Trade representing Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Industry Trade and Cooperatives Peter Munya, ZEP-RE Chairman William Erio said unlike previous years, exchange rates for most local currencies were stable and resilient during the year save for a few currencies which depreciated.
“The combination of these two factors – deterioration of loss experience and currencies depreciation – impacted on the company’s profitability and reducing the realised profit to USD10.14 million in 2018. Additionally, the insurance industry has been facing pricing pressures and generally lower market penetration. These challenges have had a direct impact of increasing the cost of doing business and a reduction in margins. This is reflected in the industry performance in 2018 which was one of the few years with record high losses,” Mr. Erio told shareholders.
Total income (net earned premium, investment income, commission earned and other income) for the year 2018 went by 9.6% to USD148 million up from USD135 million recorded in 2017. Gross claim however increased from USD83 million in 2018 up from USD66 million in 2017. Total assets grew by 2.8% to reach USD383.9 million, total liabilities rose by 5.68% to USD154.2 million, with shareholders’ funds hitting USD USD300 million in 2018.
“The strong balance sheet has been key in helping the company provide security to market players in the region and maintain its investment grade credit rating of B++ (AM Best) and a claim paying ability rating of AA+ (GCR Ratings),” Mr. Erio said.
ZEP-RE Managing Director Ms. Hope Murera said the company recorded growth in its key markets of Kenya, Zimbabwe, India, Uganda, and Tanzania supported mainly by growth in motor and medical classes.
“ZEP-Re also has a growing international reputation in underwriting infrastructure projects, property, casualty, life, and marine. These sectors continue to support and sustain our growth,” Ms. Murera said. Dr. Kiptoo lauded the role played by ZEP-RE in supporting and positively transforming the local and the region’s insurance industry.
“We note with gratitude large claim payouts you have made to businesses in Kenya including payouts to small scale traders at Gikomba market, the JKIA fire claim, the Westgate terrorism claims, and the Dusit terror attack. As a government we are looking up to insurance and re-insurance companies like ZEP-RE to support our Big Four Agenda aimed at transforming Kenya into a newly industrialized country,” Dr. Kiptoo said.
Kenya is a founder signatory member state of ZEP-RE and currently hosts the headquarters of the company in Nairobi
Commending ZEP-RE for sustained performance over the years,Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretary General Ms. Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe said the company had remained true to its developmental role as outlined in its founding objectives.
Ms. Kapwepwe said COMESA supports ZEP-RE’s efforts to promote insurance inclusivity and financial deepening in the region.
“ZEP- RE has submitted recommendations on how we can grow insurance inclusiveness within the COMESA region and we are willing to support the initiatives to ease access to insurance especially by the low- middle income population,” Ms. Kapwepwe said.
The board has recommended a dividend of USD2.5 million for 2018.