Argus Group reports earnings of $10m
Argus Group Holdings Limited has made a profit of $10 million for the six months to the end of September. This compares with a loss of $2.3 million for the same period last year.
While welcoming the performance Alison Hill, chief executive officer, said the company remains concerned about the sustainability of the healthcare system in Bermuda.
She also referenced “decisive short-term action” taken by Argus to improve long-term profitability. This year the company announced $19.5 million of writedowns associated with disposing of illiquid, noncore assets as the group restructured its balance sheet.
Ms Hill said: “We remain confident that these actions will lead to sustained earnings and future growth.”
The group’s combined operating ratio for its insurance business was 80.5 per cent, markedly lower than the 93.6 per cent for the same period last year.
Ms Hill said: “Following a year of significant increases of the cost of claims within our health business, we are now seeing a return to more normal claim levels. As promised, we will continue our efforts to drive changes that will help to control health claims without compromising quality of care.
“We remain concerned about the sustainability of the healthcare system in Bermuda and will continue to invest in our population health initiatives and work with key stakeholders as a way to influence change.”
Argus Group’s combined property and casualty division reported an increase in net earnings year-on-year, which was helped by the absence of hurricanes and other major windstorms in Bermuda, although this was in part offset by large motor losses in Europe.
Fee income generated by the group’s employee benefits, wealth management and insurance brokerage businesses was stable at $12.3 million.
Ms Hill said the group’s investment portfolio generated positive returns during the six months, despite the events that impacted global investment markets; rate increases by the Federal Reserve and tightening of credit spreads.
“Against this backdrop, the group’s solid investment performance for the six months has contributed $7.9 million to our earnings. The investment income benefited from a one-time realised gain of $1.3 million from the sale of certain Bermuda equities.”
Equity attributable to shareholders of the company stands at $107.9 million and remains well in excess of the capital level required by regulators.
Argus has declared an interim dividend of nine cents per share payable on January 15, to shareholders of record on December 31.