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United Overseas Insurance posts higher Q4 and full year net profit

SINGAPORE-LISTED general insurer United Overseas Insurance's net profit for its fourth quarter more than doubled to S$7.1 million year on year, lifted by growth in premium, higher retention and lower expenses.

Gross premium in Q4 2016 grew 3.1 per cent to S$21.5 million, while net earned premium went up 10 per cent in tandem to S$11.4 million.

Net claims incurred in the quarter improved by 24.6 per cent to S$2.4 million.

Net commission income dipped 12.2 per cent to S$2.7 million.

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Management expenses were also lower at S$3 million, down 5.5 per cent.

Correspondingly, underwriting profit in Q4 rose 22.9 per cent to S$8.7 million.

UOI recorded a non-underwriting loss of S$0.5 million due to losses arising from disposal of investments, narrowing the loss recorded in the year-ago period.

For the full year, net profit edged up 3.4 per cent to S$23.1 million, while gross premium was up 2 per cent to S$106.9 million, due to organic growth and increase in new business.

Higher net earned premium and lower net claims incurred as a result of portfolio pruning meant that underwriting profit jumped 22 per cent to a record of S$24.5 million.

A final dividend of 12 Singapore cents per share and a special dividend of 2 cents per share have been declared and are expected to be paid in May.

Together with the interim dividend of 3 cents per share paid on Aug 12, 2016, the total dividend for FY2016 would be 17 cents per share, similar to FY2015.

In its outlook, the company highlighted the many global uncertainties that Singapore and other regional economies continue to face.

"Amid a highly mature and competitive local market for general insurance, the company will continue to strive for premium and profit growth by stepping up innovative initiatives in bancassurance, developing new business and enhancing application of digitalisation in its operation."

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