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UNITED Overseas Insurance (UOI) has posted a 2.9 per cent rise in net profit to S$28.2 million for the financial year 2014 .
This was despite a 1.2 per cent dip in gross premiums written for the full year to S$108.1 million, due to portfolio pruning.
Net earned premiums rose marginally by 1.3 per cent to S$44.6 million, while net claims incurred dropped 9.5 per cent to S$18.4 million.
Consequently, underwriting profit rose 9.7 per cent to S$16 million, compared with FY2013.
The group recorded a higher non-underwriting income of $17.4 million, up 8.7 per cent from the 2013 period.
Earnings per share grew to 46.07 Singapore cents from 44.76 cents previously, while net asset value per share rose to S$4.96 as at end December 2014, compared to S$4.59 as at end Dec 2013.
UOI has declared a final dividend of 12 Singapore cents a share and a special dividend of two cents a share for the financial year as at end December 2014. These are to be paid on May 13, subject to approval.
Together with the interim dividend of three cents per share that was paid last September, the total dividend would be 17 cents per share.
On its prospects for the year, UOI said intensifying competition in the domestic market would continue to inhibit premium growth.
The frequency and quantum of claims could rise with increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather conditions, it said.
"The already uncertain geopolitical and economic conditions globally further compounded by recent falling oil prices, fluctuating currency exchanges rates and worsening threats of terrorism will render the operating environment even more challenging."
Against such a backdrop, the group said a consistent level of underwriting profitability can be expected, but investment income will be tougher to predict.