By Dipo Olowookere
Few months ago, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) introduced a tier-based recapitalisation for insurance companies in Nigeria in three different categories depending on their capital base.
Under the new system, Tier 1 insurance companies are required to have minimum capital base of N9 billion for general insurance and N6 billion for life insurance, implying a composite capital base of N15 billion.
Tier 2 companies are divided into two categories, with N4.5 billion minimum capital base for general insurance and N3 billion for life assurance, meaning a composite insurance-general and life insurance will be required to have minimum capital base of N7.5 billion.
Tier 3 companies will continue to operate on the existing minimum capital base of N3 billion for general insurance and N2 billion for life insurance, implying a composite capital base of N5 billion for a composite tier 3 insurance company.
Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc, one of the 27 insurers on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), in order not to be caught napping, took a decision to raise its capital base by increasing its share capital.
The board of the firm had proposed to create an addition 5 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each to increase its authorised share capital to N10 billion from N7.5 billion, indicating an additional N2.5 billion share capital.
During the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Thursday, September 27, 2018 in Lagos, shareholders of Sovereign Trust Insurance gave the board the approval to make this happen.
According to Chairman of the insurance firm, Mr Oluseun Ajayi, this would make the company operate in the Tier-1 category.
“It is important to state our company’s resolve to adequately operate in the Tier- 1 category with the plan of increasing our capital base both organically and inorganically before the commencement of the Tier Based Minimum Solvency capital regime,” Mr Ajayi told shareholders at the meeting.
He expressed confidence that with the new share capital, Sovereign Trust Insurance would be able to compete favourably at the market with others.
According to the Chairman, the insurance sector, like every other sector of the economy in the last financial year, struggled to overcome the challenges posed by the lingering effects of the economic recession experienced in the previous year.
He said this left businesses in a stagnated position and eroded the purchasing power of the populace thereby slowing down their urge for insurance.
Giving an insight into the company’s performance in the 2017 financial year, Mr Ajayi said Sovereign Trust Insurance’s Gross Written Premium (GPW) hit N8.5 billion, representing a 33 percent rise over the N6.3 billion recorded in 2016.
According to him, the Net Claim Expenses (NCE) paid in the year under review was N1.3 billion, representing a 9.5 percent improvement over N1.44 billion paid in 2016, noting that the drop was as a result of efficient claims paid in 2016.
He said the company recorded a N202 million Profit before Tax in 2017 against N44 million recorded in 2016, representing over 351 percent increase, while the Profit after Tax stood at N157 million, a 569 percent increase when compared with the N23 million recorded in 2016.
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