CBL Insurance has celebrated its first full year as a listed company by posting a solid result for the year ended 31 December 2016, the company said today.
Despite currency headwinds and a number of one-off expenses associated with growth both home and abroad, the company had recorded a positive combined operating ratio of 77.2% and increased its underlying operating pre-tax profit by 27.2% to $76.2 million.
This was well ahead of the $63.6 million CBL had forecast ahead of its listing in October 2015, managing director Peter Harris
“We have always regarded underwriting profit as a key metric, and to maintain a strong result while successfully integrating several new businesses is a tribute to our disciplined underwriting practices and operational nous,” Harris said.
The new businesses Harris referred to were the acquisition of Australia’s largest surety bond insurer, Assetinsure, leading UK tax investigation insurance provider Professional Fee Protection Ltd, and France’s largest specialist producer of construction sector insurance, Securities and Financial Solutions Europe SA, which comprised a continuation of an international expansion strategy the company had begun in 2000.
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Total gross written premiums across CBL’s three insurers climbed 32.6% to $321.7 million, also exceeding the company’s earlier IPO expectations.
The company pointed to another big highlight of the year which was receiving an upgraded financial strength rating from international financial ratings agency AM Best.
A successful share placement also saw CBL raise $63 million in fresh equity, increasing the company’s free float.
CBL chairman Sir John Wells said both were significant achievements.
“AM Best’s upgrade of CBL Insurance’s financial strength rating to A- (Excellent) from B++ (Good) was an excellent reflection of CBL Corporation’s successful listing, while the success of the placement was a strong vote of confidence from the market and gave us added opportunity to continue our growth program,” he said.
“Our main focus of 2017 will be on extracting additional value and profit from growing organic revenues and consolidating our position,” he added.
Harris said plans to further develop programs and markets in Europe (France, Italy, Romania and Spain), Latin America (Mexico), Australia and South East Asia (Philippines, Vietnam), and India were well advanced.
The company was also currently finalising new senior management appointments in New Zealand and Europe that would improve management capacity and better align reporting structures.
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