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Key Insurance now generating underwriting profits

Following GraceKennedy’s March 2020 acquisition of a 65 per cent stake in Key Insurance Limited, the entity now boasts an underwriting profit of JM$34.2 million and a profit before tax figure of JM$88.5 million for its fourth quarter ending December 31, 2020.

This is a 360-degree turn from the prior quarter when Key had an underwriting loss of JM$452.2 million which was driven heavily by the JM$808.4 million ceded in reinsurance to the reinsurance companies.

Key was able to increase gross written premiums by 39 per cent to JM$372.9 million for the quarter and a marginal one per cent to JM$1.42 billion for the 2020 financial year (FY). The growth in premiums was attributed to the four per cent growth in non-motor to JM$442.7 million while motor was slightly down to $975.3 million.

“We have a great management team there headed by Tammara Glaves-Hucey and Steven Whittingham. If anybody is to get credit, it’s the management team and the team at Key,” CEO of GK and Chairman of Key InsuranceLimited Don Wehby said at a GK Investor Briefing on Monday last.

“When we bought Key, we were very focused on the strategic drivers for the company — sustainable growth and innovation, consumer-centricity, internal processes in becoming more efficient and a more performance driven culture. We have taken that template from GraceKennedy and as a subsidiary, we have placed that template in terms of our guidance of how Key is going to be managed going forward with a heavy emphasis on corporate governance,” Wehby said.

Key successfully completed its JM$668-million rights issue in January that is expected to support the JM$4.23 billion balance sheet and push Key back into full compliance with its minimum capital test ratio.

The company is projecting to grow its asset base to JM$5.2 billion for the 2021 financial year (FY) while moving its gross written premiums to JM$1.7 billion and profit before tax to JM$63 million.

Key ended the 2020 FY with a net loss of JM$299.7 million which was largely attributed to the JM$323.1 million amortisation of underwriting assets.

Although Wehby didn’t go into details regarding the co-insurance opportunities that Key could utilise with GK General Insurance, he did highlight that the company’s 2021 framework should be successfully rolled out in the coming quarters.

Some of the initiatives highlighted in Key’s circular included the reduction of the motor claims through more prudent underwriting, the build out a solid investment portfolio, expansion of the motor and non- motor business plus fully roll out its online platform.

“As chairman of the company, I think the outlook for Key is great. I expect it (Key) to be profitable under the guidance of Steven, Tammara and the board. You’re going to see some interesting targeted marketing for Key and new digital products for 2021.

“The emphasis is on new products and innovation, digital and targeting a certain segment of the market. I am extremely happy with the performance of Key and you would have seen that the rights issue was a total success when we did it in January,” Wehby stated.