The Managing Director of Aureol Insurance Company Limited, Raymond Macauley has revealed that the company held its 34th Annual General Meeting virtually on Friday 9th July, 2021 at which event the newly-elected Chairperson, Jennifer Renner-Thomas disclosed that despite the grappling shock and far reaching socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company made a Gross Written Premium of Le32.129 billion as compared to Le31.122 billion in the previous year.
According to Mr. Macauley, claims paid for the year to 31st December 2020 was Le9.967 billion as compared to Le11.655 billion for the corresponding period to 31st December 2019 (a decrease of 14.48%), that claims ratio for the period under review was 38.49% as compared to 47% for the same period to 31st December 2019 but noted however that the expense ratio for 12 months to 31st December 2020 was 50% as compared to 49% for the corresponding period to 31st December 2019.
He enlightened that Mrs. Renner-Thomas gave an overview of the economy of Sierra Leone which she said was badly affected by the COVID–19 pandemic, that the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by 2.2% in 2020 after growing by 5.4% in 2019 underscoring that the decline was attributable to weak external demand for major exports, particularly diamonds and declines in the mining, transport, trade, and tourism sectors.
Giving an insight of the insurance industry, the Managing Director continued that the industry is still characterised by declining insurance rates and market shares, stiff and unhealthy competition primarily driven by strong bargaining powers of buyers and slow growth which were a reflection of the overall economy and furthered that the industry was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic which undermined the growth prospects of the economy making the anticipated economic take-off impossible.
He articulated that amidst all the challenges, the Company recorded a 3.24% increase in gross written premium and profit before tax of Le 4.851 billion for the period to 31st December 2020 as compared to Le3.759 billion for the period to 31st December 2019 disclosing that the Board was pleased to recommend a dividend of Le 0.45 cents per share to all Members of the Company as at 31st December 2020.
He went on, “shareholders were also informed that the Board has decided to refurbish the Company’s investment property at 11 Wilberforce Street. As part of its commitment to its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the Company responded to the national call for support against COVID 19 by organising an Essay Competition for Primary and Secondary Schools on the topic “Celebrating our fearless and dedicated frontline workers risking their lives in the fight against COVID 19” to help create awareness among school going children about the disease. The process was overseen by a renowned educationist, Nathaniel Pearce. The Chairperson thanked all those who participated in the competition and more especially the winners.”
He also informed that the Company bade farewell to Yasmin Fofanah who retired on the 31st March 2021 after serving as Director of the Board for 34 years, 8 years of which as Chairperson of the Board, informed that the newly-elected Chairperson, Jennifer Renner-Thomas commended Yasmin Fofanah on behalf of the shareholders for her invaluable contributions to the growth and development of the Company and wished her all the best in her future endeavours and that Mrs. Renner-Thomas also warmly welcomed Mr. Ernest Beoku-Betts, a Lawyer to the Board and congratulated Mr. Solomon Samba who was elected as Vice Chairman of the Board effective 8th June 2021.
Mr. Macauley said the new Chairperson further informed shareholders that members of staff benefitted from physical and virtual training programs both locally and overseas and particularly congratulated AminataFofanah and Rachael Thomas who successfully completed the West African Insurance Institute (WAII) Diploma in Insurance in The Gambia and the UK Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) Diploma in Insurance Course respectively while Leonard Stronge also successfully completed the Chartered Insurance Institute U.K. Certificate in Insurance and wished Dolly Kaikai who served the company as cashier for 16 years a happy retirement.
“Mrs. Renner-Thomas also expressed gratitude to the Directors, Shareholders, Management, Staff, Customers, Reinsurers, Consulting Actuaries, Brokers and Agents of the Company for yet another successful year in spite of the very challenging environment. She said that they are optimistic that improvement in the global economic outlook, coupled with the roll out of the COVID 19 vaccines will enhance business and consumer confidence and thus stimulate growth from which the Company will immensely benefit,” the Managing Director concluded.