By Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma/ Bukola Adetoye
NEM Insurance Plc Shareholders on Tuesday lauded the board and management for the total dividend of N686.47 million paid for the financial year ended Dec.31, 2018.
The shareholders spoke at the company’s 49th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the dividend translated to 13k per share.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Sunny Nwosu, Founder, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, commended the company for the dividend, in spite of challenging operating environment.
Nwosu said the company’s dividend policy was encouraging despite challenges in the economy.
The shareholder activist urged the company to sustain the trend in the years ahead.
He, however urged the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to review its stance on recapitalisation by extending the deadline between two to five years.
Mrs Bisi Bakare, National Coordinator, Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria, said the recapitalisation should not be done in a haste.
Bakare said that shareholders lost most of their investments during the banking consolidation and could not afford to suffer again.
Responding, Mr Tope Smart, the Group Managing Director, assured the shareholders that they were currently engaging NAICOM on recapitalisation modalities.
Smart, who is also the Chairman, Nigeria Insurers Association, said they were engaging the commission to ensure that all members met the deadline.
He said that the company was set for new heights and enhanced dividend payment to shareholders.
“With a strong reputation built over the years, coupled with a very strong brand in the insurance industry and robust financials, the future of the company looks very exciting.
“We are determined to take advantage of the opportunities we have in order to take our company to the next level,” Smart stated.
He noted that the company had maintained its focus in the industry and would continue to increase market share despite the difficult operating environment.
“From about five per cent market share, we now control close to seven per cent market share of non life business. We are determined to improve on this figure.
“Our associate in Ghana Regency Nem Insurance is expanding its operations into major areas in Ghana.
“This will lead to more income for the company and ultimately impact its bottom line in the nearest future,” Smart said.
He said that the company recorded gross premium of N15.04 billion during the period under review.
Dr Fidelis Ayebae, the company’s Chairman, said that gross claims incurred during the period was N6.01 billion, an increase of 20 per cent compared with N5.01 billion in 2017.
“The gross claims ratio for 2018 stood at 40.0 per cent whereas that of 2017 was 37.4 per cent, an increase of 2.6 per cent.
“Net Claims paid for the year was N2.6 billion, while that of the previous year was N1.8 billion; resulting in an increase of 43.2 per cent,” Ayebae said.
The chairman said that over 90 per cent of the staff were sent on training during the period.
He said this was in line with the company’s policy of ensuring enhancement of knowledge of members of staff and improving their skills on the job.(NAN)