African short-term insurer OUTsurance Group OUTJ.J on Wednesday reported an almost three-fold jump in half-year profit, thanks partly to strong growth in premiums, and said it plans to enter the Irish market next year.
OUTsurance currently does business in South Africa and Australia, and its expansion into Ireland is subject to licensing from the country’s central bank, the insurer said.
“Ireland’s motor and home insurance market is a strong strategic fit for OUTsurance,” Chief Executive Officer Marthinus Visser said, adding the move was in line with the company’s long-term strategy for growth and diversification.
Ireland’s market size is “big enough to move the dial relative to our existing operation, but also… we won’t be betting the farm”, he said on a conference call.
South Africa, the largest and the most advanced insurance market in Africa, is home to companies that account for more than two-thirds of total premiums collected across the continent.
But a substantial part of those premiums is invested in local government bonds, corporate debt and equity, making returns unpredictable, especially when the country is being battered by high inflation, low commodity prices and crippling power cuts.
OUTsurance, however, said the jump in half-year profit was due to strong growth in premiums and favourable operating conditions.
Its headline earnings per share – the main profit measure in South Africa – was 86.6 South African cents in the six months to Dec. 31, up from 35 cents a year ago.
It declared a dividend of 56.8 cents per share.