Argus Group reports net earnings of $14.2m

Argus Group had full-year net earnings of $14.2 million, the same as the previous year.

The Bermudian-based insurance and financial services group, which also has operations in Gibraltar and Malta, said the impact of Hurricane Humberto last September caused was a drop of $4.7 million in net earnings in its global property and casualty operations.

However, that impact was partially mitigated by growth in operating revenues and the integration of First United Insurance Brokers Ltd, acquired in September, making Argus the largest broker in Malta.

Argus said it been a roller-coaster ride for investment markets, but its pensions and annuities businesses had continued to grow. It had pension assets under management of $1.1 billion at the end of its financial year on March 31, down 5 per cent year-on-year.

The company said the first three quarters of the fiscal year had seen strong investment performance, which was dampened by investment losses in March as a result of Covid-19. However, it said investment markets and pension portfolios had recovered from much of the impact.

Argus said pension regulatory changes are creating further pressure on its business, and added: “We are actively investing in digital solutions to provide more proactive, personalised contact with our clients in response to their needs”.

It also said the Bermuda hospital financing reform resulted in a $20.6 million decrease on Argus’s revenue base and an offsetting decrease on the cost of claims by $15.7 million.

Argus said: “We have worked tirelessly to retain and acquire new clients and take further steps to reduce the cost of claims to help mitigate the impact of health reform on our underwriting results.”

The group’s net equity was $122.1 million at March 31. Argus will pay a dividend of 9 cents per share to shareholders of record as of July 27.

Alison Hill, chief executive officer of the group, said: “Nearly two years ago we recognised that a new strategic vision for Argus was needed. Social and technological changes were exposing new business opportunities; and global economic, regulatory, political and environmental pressures were driving greater risk and uncertainty. Above all, we knew we needed to build a more resilient business and develop our agility and adaptability to navigate Argus through uncertain times.”

In a statement, Argus said it had rapidly responded to the Covid-19 crisis, working one-on-one with clients “to design solutions to lessen the short term financial burden whilst ensuring essential benefits were provided”.

It said it had rapid product and service development, that included a new Covid-19 health insurance product to support local businesses who were experiencing severe economic pressures; coverages for mental health and prescription drugs; access to lower cost healthcare; free telemedicine helplines and financial relief packages.

Argus added it supported the most vulnerable in the communities in which it does business so they could obtain food for themselves and their families, and it had purchased laptops for students in need to support their remote learning. It also helped front line workers by providing free transportation to commute to work.

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Published Jun 16, 2020 at 5:41 pm (Updated Jun 16, 2020 at 5:41 pm)

Argus Group reports net earnings of $14.2m

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