Continental Reinsurance Plc, said it grew its group consolidated gross premium by 32 per cent, from N22.4billion in 2016 to N29.7billion in 2017 financial period.
The company said the increase was mainly driven by strong aggregated growth from its operations in Africa.
It noted that the underwriting profit, despite mixed performances at regional level, rose by 213 per cent to N1.3billion from N414million in 2016, adding that this was buoyed by the groupâ€™s increasing focus on underwriting discipline and benign claims experience in the principal Nigerian market.
Official statistics showed that throughout 2017, the African insurance market continued to experience the residual effects of prior yearsâ€™ business turbulence, stemming from the sharp slowdown of key economies impacted by the widespread foreign exchange crunch arising from low commodity prices.
The Group Managing Director, Continental Re, Dr. Femi Oyetunji, speaking on the activities of the company in the 2017 business year, explained that 2017 represented yet another year characterised by headwinds that emanated from the challenging economic environment. Localised volatility and periodic downturns, according to him, formed an inherent feature of doing business in Africa.
He said: â€œOur performance reflects resilience deliberately imbued through a determined focus on portfolio diversification that broadens our revenue base and ultimately smoothens performance cycles. This strategy continues to pay off, and despite the groupâ€™s underwriting result being moderated by considerable reserve strengthening for our Eastern operations and unfavorable loss experience impacting our yet to mature Southern operations, performance fundamentals were maintained at good levels.â€
According to him, for the Continental Re Group during the year under review, profit before tax remained positive at N3.6bn though lower by 23 per cent than that for 2016 due to the non-recurrence of the substantial foreign currency revaluations that boosted the prior year result.
He said the groupâ€™s results were bolstered by a strong contribution of investment and other income which at N6.6billion reflects a healthy 37 per cent increase over 2016.
Oyetunji within the reporting period, A.M. Best affirmed the groupâ€™s rating of B+ (good).
He added that the rating report highlights Continental Reâ€™s very strong balance sheet strength, adequate operating performance and neutral business profile as positive factors.
He said the companyâ€™s balance sheet strength, was recently augmented by a capital injection of $10million late in 2017 to support its strategic initiatives, as having strong risk-adjusted capitalisation, which is expected to remain at very strong levels over the medium term.
In 2016, the management introduced new and enhanced strategic proposals meant to chart the future course for the company through to 2020.
â€œOur bold transformation initiatives, building on the journey we began in 2011, are aimed at reinforcing the companyâ€™s growth and profitability objectives for years to come. We are well prepared to meet the inevitable challenges that are encountered due to the nature of reinsurance business. We continue to pursue lofty growth and profitability ambitions and are structuring and reconfiguring ourselves to adapt our business and operating model to tide us over and ride any rough patches.â€