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By NBF News
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Chairman of Union Assurance Company Limited, Mrs. Funke Osibodu has said that the company will continue to meet its obligations to policyholders despite the challenging business environment.

Osibodu, who said this to shareholders at the 12th annual general meting of the company in Lagos last week, revealed that management of the company is priming strategies to grow the individual lines of insurance because that is where growth is sustainable.

She said 'We are revamping our marketing machinery and upgrading our technology so as to quickly tap into the compulsory insurance market. We are also x-raying the possibilities that micro insurance presents to us. We are optimistic that the various new fronts we are exploiting will yield positive results.

'Partnerships that will enable us expand our retail outlets will be our focus in 2011. We also plan to rely on product innovation and the repackaging of existing ones to further penetrate the market.'

The Union Assurance Chairman stated that the management is confident that the future belongs to insurance, adding 'An uncertain environment characterised by pervasive risk is fertile ground for the growth of insurance business and your company will offer attractive solutions that gives potential clients potions to offload their risks on the unique protection available in Union Assurance.'

Meanwhile, gross premium written by the company, according to the Chairman, decreased by five per cent from N3.39billion in 2009 to N3.22billion in 2010. Investment income for the period stood at N241.7million.

The Company recorded a substantial decrease of about 65 per cent in claims incurred from N677.9million in 2009 to N235.5millio in 2011, due to the various risk management strategies and reinsurance treaties put in place by the management, the Chairman said.

'As a result of these, the company made a modest profit after tax of N38million compared with a loss of N1.01 million in 2009. Shareholders' fund at the end of the reporting period stood at the N5.02billion, an increase of 3.40 per cent, over the preceding years' figure. Total assets grew by 8.4 per cent from N7.89billion in 2009 to N8.65billion in 2010.

According to the Chairman 'Due to the competing demand for funds for our IT infrastructure upgrade and new product development, the Board of Directors is not recommending dividend payment this year. However, the Board is confident that the company will be able to declare dividends in subsequent years.'

Osibodu noted that the company is undergoing transformation that requires sacrifice today in order for shareholders to enjoy a lot of gains subsequently, adding 'The board remains committed to upholding the trust you have reposed in us and will deliver on its mandate.'