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UOI Q3 net profit up 10.6% as investment gains lift non-underwriting income

UNITED Overseas Insurance (UOI)'s third-quarter net profit was boosted by non-underwriting income from investment gains, as core underwriting earnings tumbled on higher costs and lower gross premium.

Net profit rose 10.6 per cent year-on-year to S$6.02 million for the three months to Sept 30, according to unaudited results released on Tuesday, even though the gross premium written fell by 2.7 per cent to S$23 million.

The bottom line was saved by a 34.7 per cent increase in non-underwriting income to S$5.9 million.

Still, net earned premium was down 8.7 per cent to S$9.76 million, pushing underwriting profit lower by 31.5 per cent to S$1.46 million.

Earnings per share for the quarter was 39.37 Singapore cents, up from 35.59 Singapore cents before, while net asset value was unchanged from Dec 31, 2017 at S$6.17 a share.

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Net profit for the nine months stood at S$17.4 million, a year-on-year drop of 15.4 per cent, as gross premium written dipped 3.3 per cent to S$79.7 million.

No dividend was recommended for the period.

UOI said in its outlook statement that the general insurance market "continues to be characterised by intense competition fuelled by excessive capacity.

"The trend is unlikely to reverse, despite escalating catastrophic losses globally associated with climate change," it said, adding that investment income will also remain a challenge, amid greater financial stability risks, continued trade tensions and geopolitical uncertainties.

UOI ended lower by two Singapore cents or 0.3 per cent at S$6.57, before the results were released.

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