IronRock pursues underwriting profitability and growth in market shares

IronRock pursues underwriting profitability and growth in market shares

Sunday, October 25, 2020

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IronRock Insurance Limited has cited the attainment of underwriting profitability and a further buildout of the local market as among its main objectives for future growth.

Ending its September third quarter with an underwriting loss of $18.7 million, the company is seeking to minimise risk and build a good portfolio that will lead to ultimate profits.

“We have not yet turned an underwriting profit, and that's our big focus. We expect that to change in the next year or two,” Managing Director Evan Thwaites said during a Mayberry investor's briefing last Wednesday.

Thwaites, however, noted the vagaries of the hazardous weather conditions, including hurricanes and earthquakes, as some of the major impediments to achieving this objective. As a response to these uncertainties and also those associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the insurance provider has moved to adjust its investment strategy in an effort to increase liquidity and reduce risk.

“We're cautiously building our portfolio and making sure that the risks we insure are those that we want to,” he stated.

Thwaites also said that as a means of growing market share, the five-year-old company was on a mission to develop greater client engagement.

“We have really focused on the client engagement of the direct portfolio. We have robust social media campaigns and a presence. We also have effective and efficient communication with the brokers.”

He said that currently, 90 per cent of the business comes through brokers, while the other 10 per cent comes directly from customers, the latter of which he hopes to improve.

The company recently turned to direct selling of its products online, stemming from its focus and intention to build and maintain profitable, direct-client portfolios.

In further outlining the company's long-term plans, the managing director noted an expanded footprint through a transition of the business into other territories in the regions as a part of its outlook.

“We have a job to do in Jamaica that we have not yet finished. Once we have accomplished what we have set out to accomplish in Jamaica, we'll certainly be turning our attention to the region,” he said, noting the company's technological advancement as well as its professional staff as two of the main components that will spearhead the success of this expansion.

He also said that despite the depressing effects of the pandemic on the equities market, the company was quite bullish on driving income in portfolios, both for stocks and fixed income investments.

The company, in its unaudited financial report for the period ended September 30, recorded a net profit of $4.6 million and gross premiums written up were 16 per cent for the quarter and 27 per cent year to date. Net claims for the quarter reduced by 37 per cent and net commissions grew by $6.1 million.

“Investment income fell marginally below the prior year's quarter as management prioritised liquidity over returns. However, we made gains of $6.6 million on the sale of investments and saw a significant increase in foreign exchange gains,” the report stated.

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