Guardian Holdings withstands Sandy

Regional insurer reports improved bottom line

Julian Richardson

Friday, November 09, 2012

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Insurance giant Guardian Holdings Limited (GHL) said the passage of Hurricane Sandy should have "minimal" impact on the company's performance.

The regional powerhouse said current estimates forescast a "relatively small loss" of less than US$2 million ($181 million) arising from the storm. Sandy hit Jamaica and Bahamas last month as a Category 1 and Category 2 hurricane respectively. Along with life insurance subsidiary Guardian Life, the firm owns general insurance providers West Indies Alliance and the recently acquired Globe Insurance in Jamaica. GHL also has a minor stake in Royal Star Assurance in Bahamas.

"GHL has in the past produced good fourth quarter results and barring any unforeseen or catastrophic events, this should continue to be the case," said GHL chairman Arhur lok Jack in a statement accompanying the company's recent nine-month financial report.

For the nine-months ended September 30, 2012, the firm reported consolidated net profits due to equity holders of TT$302 million ($4.3 billion), a 25 per cent increase over the corresponding period last year.

GHL's gross premiums written grew by five per cent to TT$3.368 billion, but the company said net premiums written were ßat due to a decrease in its Dutch Caribbean general insurance business.

For the period under review, net income from insurance underwriting activities grew 50 per cent to TT$364 million, driven by improved claims performance across key segments Life, Health and Pensions, and Property and Casualty insurance, the company said.

A TT$72 million gain on the disposal of shares in Jubilee during last year's third quarter was a major factor why net income from investing activities fell 14 per cent from to TT$658 million, the company said. The 2012 third quarter included a TT$20 million, non-cash, provision associated with GHL's real estate development project in Martinique, Pointe Simone.

"Eliminating the effects of these two items reveal that the underlying performance of our investing activities remained ßat. Given the weak investment climate and low interest rate environment, this is not an unanticipated result," Lok Jack said.

The Life, Health, and Pensions business posted a 45 per cent increase in net proÞt to TT$256 million through the third quarter of 2012. Year-to-date, the company reported that its Caribbean Property and Casualty segment, despite ßood losses suffered in the third quarter in Trinidad, achieved net proÞts of TT$89 million or 21 per cent more than the comparative period last year.

The firm's Asset Management segment also did well, growing net proÞts by 41 per cent to $18 million year to date. Assets under Management jumped to TT$8.6 billion, an increase of five per cent from year end 2011 and eight per cent from the comparative September 2011 period, the company said.

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