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Guardian Holdings Limited's headquarters in Trinidad and Tobago (File photo)

Dutch markets push Guardian Holdings second-quarter recovery

Guardian Holdings Limited's headquarters in Trinidad and Tobago (File photo)

Chairman of Guardian Holdings Limited (GHL) Patrick Hylton has attributed the company’s recovery in the last quarter to an increase in business activity in the Dutch Antilles.

In his Chairman’s Report Hylton noted that Guardian Group “produced a strong performance in its second quarter”, adding that the results of the second quarter “have reversed the loss from the first quarter” and exceeded those of second-quarter 2019.

Chairman of Guardian Holdings Limited Patrick Hylton (File photo)

For the quarter ending June 30, 2020, the group’s net income increased by 31 per cent over TT$528 million recorded in the corresponding period a year prior to reach TT$692 million. Furthermore, the GHL’s net profit after tax improved by 42 per cent to end at TT$137 million.

However, when comparing the group’s performance on a six-month basis, Hylton underscored that GHL was still not up to par with the previous year.

“Year to date, your group’s performance is behind that of last year, recording profit attributable to equity shareholders of [TT]$165 million, an 82 per cent or 33 per cent reduction on the [TT]$247 million recorded in the similar period last year,” he said.

“The property and casualty business segment increased premiums by five per cent, largely from the Dutch and Jamaican markets… ”

— Patrick Hylton, chairman, Guardian Holdings Limited

GHL’s net written premiums for the six months ending June 30, 2020, was TT$85.3 million lower than TT$2.3 billion recorded a year ago. It was the same for income from investment activities, which declined by 53 per cent from TT$671 million reached in 2019.

Segment gains

Notwithstanding, the group realised increases in fees and commissions and from insurance activities, with the latter improving by 94 per cent over TT$283 in 2019.

“This was largely owing to improvements in the life, health and pension business segment, which increased income by [TT]$53 million over the prior year, driven by growth in the Dutch markets,” the chairman wrote.

The Guardian Life Centre on Trafalgar Road in New Kingston, Jamaica. An increase in premiums from Jamaica’s property and casualty business contributed to a one per cent growth in net premiums. (File photo)

Hylton, in addition, pointed out that, “The property and casualty business segment increased premiums by five per cent, largely from the Dutch and Jamaican markets, while the life, health and pension business reduced premiums by two per cent mainly from the Trinidad business.”

Moreover, GHL recorded TT$73 million growth in its brokerage activities, which was a 21 per cent increase in the segment over 2019 results

COVID-19 obstacles

He attributed the decline in premiums to the challenging economic climate, brought on by the onset of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, which has created significant obstacles for the collection of premiums. To resolve this, GHL launched online portals to increase customer interactions.

But since some customers still prefer over-the-counter payments, these negatively impacted gross written premiums, which increased by just one per cent.

“As we move forward in this time of ongoing uncertainty, your directors continue to actively monitor the global developments surrounding COVID-19 pandemic and adjust our strategy as necessary, To this end, and out of an abundance of caution, your directors have decided not to recommend an interim dividend for 2020,” the GHL chairman explained.

“However, your group continues to implement its strategic plan to improve our return on capital and looks forward with careful optimism to a stronger second-half performance,” the report ended.