By Stephen V. Lansana
Aureol Insurance Company Limited has on Friday July 9, 2021 held its 34th Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Atlantic Hall in Freetown.
Some shareholders and Members of the Board participated virtually.
The newly elected Chairperson of Board of Directors, Mrs. Jennifer Renner-Thomas said that despite the grappling shock and the far reaching social 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.
Mrs. Renner-Thomas gave an overview of the economy of Sierra Leone which she said was badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. She stated that the Real GDP contracted by 2.2% in 2020 after growing by 5.4% in 2019. The decline, she said, 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, Mrs. Renner Thomas said 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, adding 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.
She reported to the shareholders 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.
Mrs. Renner Thomas said that the Board was pleased to recommend a dividend of Le 0.45 cents Per share to all shareholders of the Company as at 31st December 2020.
In giving further analysts of the Company’s performance, the Chairperson stated that 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%).
Claims ratio for the Period under review was 38.49% as compared to 47% for the same period to 31st December 2019. However, the Expense ratio for 12 months to 31st December 2020 was 50% as compared to 49% for the corresponding period to 31st December 2019.
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, 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, Mr Nathaniel Pearce.
The Chairperson, thanked all those who participated in the competition and more especially the winners.
The Company bade farewell to Mrs. 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.
The newly elected Chairperson, Mrs. Renner-Thomas thanked Mrs. Yasmin Fofanah on behalf of the shareholders for her invaluable contribution to the growth and development of the Company, and wished her all the best in her future endeavours. She warmly welcomed Mr Ernest Beoku-Betts, a Lawyer to the Board. She also congratulated Mr Solomon Samba who was elected as Vice Chairman of the Board effective June 8, 2021.
The Chairperson further informed shareholders that members of staff benefitted from physical and virtual training programs both locally and overseas. She particularly congratulated Miss. Aminata Fofanah and Mrs. 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. Mr. Lenard Stronge also successfully completed the Chartered Insurance Institute U.K. Certificate in Insurance. She wished Miss. Dolly Kaikai who served the company as cashier for 16 years a happy retirement.
She 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 General Manager of Aureol Insurance Raymond Macauley said that last year was very challenging for the Company because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. “But despites the COVID-19, we were able to achieve these through hard work, unity and team spirit,” he said. “This year  was successful because when we presented the financial statement to the Shareholders, it was accepted.”
Premier News Publication
Monday 12 July 2021
ISSUE NO: 8097