While the year that has gone by provided us with a number of challenges, especially in the economic realm, it also provided opportunities for us to improve further in the area of service delivery, with particular emphasis on uniform service delivery across our branch network. For instance, giving ourselves more stringent timelines for claims management and implementation of an electronic claims tracking system, using our general insurance software, gave us a further competitive edge with regard to claims resolution and settlement in the Zambian market. We invested heavily in the training and re-training of all our staff in the area of customer service management and were well rewarded when we won two major awards from the Zambia Institute of Marketing and the Zambia Institute for Customer Management.
2015 was another year for us scoring a first as we launched the first ever Microinsurance Product in the general insurance sector, Muende Bwino. This product targets the low income segment of our population and it is meant to mitigate the impact of Road Traffic Accidents in Zambia as it has both medical and bodily injury/death components. The market responded positively to it and we are in the process of rolling it out to groupings such as cooperatives, schools, churches, associations and contractors to name a few. We shall continue to leverage on our strengths and ensure that our products and services are tailored to the specific needs of our customers. We strongly believe in win-win relationships anchored on understanding the unique insurance needs of our customers and collectively finding solutions to those needs. We are dedicated to delivering a more localized, caring and fulfilling approach to their insurance experience. This is why we always ensure that our service does not end only with the policy purchase. Instead, we stay in touch and remain alive to the ever changing insurance needs of our customers in order to proactively respond to them.
I highlight some of the key financial performance indicators for 2015 below:
‒ We generated gross revenue of ZMW 313 million representing an increase of 11% from ZMW283 million in 2014.
‒ We paid a total of ZMW 88 million in claims compared to ZMW 95 million paid in 2014, in gross terms. Net ZMW 54 million and ZMW 44 million for 2015 and 2014 respectively].
‒ The profit before tax increased to ZMW 40 million from ZMW 34 million in 2014.
‒ The profit after tax increased by 18% to ZMW 26 million from ZMW 22 million in 2014.
‒ We generated a Return on Equity of 24%compared to 25% in 2014.
‒ The combined ratio increased slightly to 80% from 79% in 2014. (Our operations continue to be efficient).
‒ Our liquid investments (held to maturity) increased from ZMW 27 million in 2014 to ZMW 33 million in 2015, an increase of 22% compared to the previous year.
‒ Further, the total book value of investments of the Corporation as at 31st December, 2015 was ZMW 52 million compared to ZMW 46 million in 2014, thereby representing an increase of 13%.
‒ The Solvency margin for 2015 was 117% from 87% in 2014; substantially in excess of the minimum statutory solvency margin requirement of 10% in Zambia.
‒ The earnings per share improved from K8.83 in 2014 to K10.44 in 2015.
‒ The Corporation maintained its position as the largest insurer in Zambia with a market share of 22% in the general insurance sector.
‒ The Corporation maintained the strong treaty reinsurance program led by Munich Re and followed by Swiss Re, Hannover Re, Zep Re and African Re. The emphasis on financially strong reinsurance securities will continue to underpin our business. SCOR and AIG (South Africa) joined the reinsurance panel from the 1st of January 2016.
The Corporation's sound financial position and performance, as well as prudent management was reaffirmed in the year with the maintenance of our credit rating of A+ by Global Credit Rating Co. (Pty) Limited. The thrust of our strategic focus for 2015 was hinged on disrupting our thinking. In a nutshell, we have resolved to revolutionize the way we conduct insurance business in Zambia. We have discarded the 'business as usual' mentality, going forward. We embarked on a number of reforms around technology so as to achieve unmatched efficiencies and to ensure our customers and the insuring public access our products and services seamlessly. The ongoing development of our information and communication technology core software, which started on 1st of January, 2015, continues to be one of our major priorities. To keep pace with the increased demands on our service, we need streamlined, integrated and efficient systems. We shall, therefore, continue to lead the market in terms of technological innovations and advancement for the benefit of our customers.
In the coming year we shall be launching two technological platforms namely the shopping cart and the e-payment solution via our website and Corporate Facebook/Twitter accounts, so as to bring our customers closer to us. The e-payment solution will enable our customers to pay their premiums in the comfort of their offices or homes, as the case may be. It will also help our customers in terms of tracking progress with regard to outstanding claims.
Our campaign to make the Nation and the planet at large healthier and more sustainable has continued through a strict print only when it is absolutely necessary' policy. This policy enables us to save vast quantities of paper and therefore reduce on the number of trees which are felled to manufacture paper. We also have a policy of switching off all electrical and electronic appliances not being used at a particular time, to save on the amount of water needed for hydro-electric power generation. We have embraced the triple bottom line strategy, the framework with three parts: people, planet and profits. We evaluate our performance in a broader perspective to create greater business value and sustainability by taking into account the environment and social dimensions.
As we look ahead in 2016, we pledge our resolve to work towards the achievement of our targets with the same spirit that has brought us this far, having been in existence for twenty four years now. Our commitment extends to the needs of communities where our branch network operates from, throughout the country. We shall continue to plough back a portion of our earnings to charitable causes which we have embraced in the areas of children, women and education.
As I conclude, I wish to put it on record that customers are and will remain the most important stakeholders in our business. They are the resource upon which the success of the business, over the years, has depended. It is for this reason that we always make it a point to ensure that our customers have a positive experience before, during and after they purchase insurance. We believe that excellent customer service is at the heart of our business model and we therefore welcome feedback from our customers both in areas where we are doing very well and those where we need to improve. Our customers are encouraged to feel free to visit our website or any of our branches so that we hear from them about their unique customer experience.
I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of my colleagues on the Executive Committee, Staff and indeed on my own, to thank our Shareholders for their steadfast support as we have grown and transformed the business from strength to strength. Let me also salute the Board Chairperson and the Directors for the strategic oversight and direction which has enabled us to continue performing beyond the expectations of our customers. Lastly, but most important, I wish to pay tribute to our customers for the support, trust and confidence vested in us. This is in addition to support from our quality reinsurers, esteemed brokers and agents, our suppliers and other stakeholders, including our regulators for providing a healthy business environment.
BA (Hons), FLMI, FIIZA, AZIM, ACII, ACS, AFSI, AIAA, AIRC, ARA, CCW, Chartered insurer
MANAGING DIRECTOR & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER