Thursday 26 November, 2020

IronRock hits new sweet spot online

Managing director, Evan Thwaites, said IronRock is now focused on building and maintaining a profitable direct client portfolio.

Managing director, Evan Thwaites, said IronRock is now focused on building and maintaining a profitable direct client portfolio.

IronRock Insurance Company has turned to direct selling online as the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic deepens.

Managing director, Evan Thwaites, said IronRock is now focused on building and maintaining a profitable direct client portfolio.

“We have launched several new motor insurance products and the early response from the market has been promising. Client engagement on our digital platforms has also continued to grow, with September 2020 showing the highest level of online client engagement ever", Thwaites said.

“Looking ahead, we are excited to build a truly modern insurance service for the digital age," he added.
 
The company, however, ended third-quarter September 2020 with an underwriting loss of $18.7 million. 

With other income of $23.2 million, IronRock reported a profit for the quarter of $4.6 million, but this was offset by reduced investment gains.

Income declines due to a significant reduction in gains on the sale of investments – caused by the effect of COVID-19 on local and international financial markets - impacted the results for the company, year to date.

Thwaites noted that the insurance sector has seen a slowdown in revenues as deaths from COVID-19  have increased in Jamaica.
 
Thwaites stated, “The primary effect on our operations has been a slowdown in revenue growth.  Our experience is that brokers and their clients have been less willing to re-broke large commercial contracts as most parties prefer in-person meetings with new insurers, but these meetings  are now associated with the risk of COVID-19 exposure.”

The managing director said though the island has had a lot of rain this hurricane season and a few loud storms (some lightening claims have been paid),  luckily no hurricanes have occurred yet.

In response to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic and also the onset of the hurricane season, IronRock has adjusted its investment strategy to increase liquidity and reduce risk.

The effect of this has been reduced yields. As hurricane season winds to a close and as the Jamaican economy adjusts to the pandemic, Thwaites outlined, “we have opted to move our investments to longer-term, higher-yielding debt instruments.”

He said the value of the company’s equity portfolio remains depressed with little recovery since the initial shock of COVID-19 back in March 2020. 

“We do not expect much of a recovery in the Jamaican equity market for the rest of the year, but intend to build on the income side of the portfolio,” the company head opined.

Gross premium by the insurance company for the quarter increased by 16 per cent,  net claims were reduced by 37 per cent and net commissions grew by $6.1 million.

However, these gains were offset by increased payments to reinsurance companies and an increase in operating costs.

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