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Sagicor fund buys into General Accident Insurance

Published:Friday | March 11, 2016 | 3:00 AMSteven Jackson
Managing Director of General Accident Insurance, Sharon Donaldson.

Sagicor Pooled Equity Fund has snapped up millions of shares in General Accident Insurance Company Limited.

The pooled fund now has the ninth-largest holding in General Accident - 4.25 million shares - acquired during the quarter ending December 2015. The holdings are valued today at roughly $11 million.

Sagicor Group, a financial conglomerate whose flagship business is life insurance, has not responded to queries on the share acquisition.

During the same period, Mayberry Managed Client Accounts reduced its holdings in General Accident from 11.37 million shares to 6.2 million shares.

"We were just rebalancing our portfolio," said Gary Peart, chief executive officer at Mayberry Investments Limited. Mayberry West Indies still holds 32 million shares or the second-largest bloc in the company after Musson Jamaica, which owns 824.9 million shares.

General Accident made net profit after tax of $301.6 million for its December 2015 year end, compared to $320 million a year earlier. Despite the reduced profits, the company indicated that it enjoyed another strong year with gross written premiums increasing 21 per cent to $6.1 billion in 2016.

"This marks the 17th year in a row that the company has grown its gross written premiums," the company said at the release of its fourth-quarter results. General Accident is run by Sharon Donaldson and chaired by Paul Scott.

In 2015, the company's claims expense increased marginally by three per cent to $699 million. Notwithstanding higher claims, its underwriting profit grew to $107 million compared with $101 million in 2014. This was driven mainly by an increase in earned premiums.

"It should also be noted that our investment portfolio produced material gains on our available-for-sale investments currently recognised in 'other comprehensive income' and not reflected in the 9.5 per cent return.

"However, if added to the investment income for the period, this would have produced an annualised return on the investment portfolio of 12.2 per cent," stated General Accident, which earned total comprehensive income of $362.9 million compared to $326.3 million a year earlier.

General Accident's share price is up 45 cents year-to-date at $2.50.

business@gleanerjm.com