MMI Holdings (MMI), the third biggest JSE-listed life assurer, on Monday said the new business annual premium had lifted 13 percent in the quarter to September this year.
It said this increase in new business was achieved against the background of an on-going difficult and uncertain operating environment characterised by low interest rates, weak employment levels, the rising cost of electricity and petrol, a volatile currency and weak global demand conditions that continue to impact negatively on domestic economic growth and confidence.
MMI expects growth in new business volumes to remain dependent on economic conditions. Diversification of distribution, geographies, markets and products continue to underpin the group’s growth strategy and has to some extent cushioned MMI from negative economic conditions.
MMI continues to focus on expense management and merger efficiencies in order to realise the expense savings envisaged through the merger.
The group achieved a recurring cost saving of 201 million rand ($23 million) over the past year as a direct result of the merger of the Metropolitan and Momentum to form MMI.
Further cost savings will be realised from other projects, including the proposed amalgamation of the long-term insurance licences of Metropolitan and Momentum during 2013.
MMI will be celebrating its second birthday on 1 December 2012. During the past two years, the group developed and implemented a strategy to realise its vision of being a leader in meeting financial service needs across its market segments in South Africa, other African countries and selected international markets. It also successfully launched the MMI values, which shape the company’s culture and commitment to excellence.
MMI has paid out dividends totalling 304 cents per share since the launch of the group; an impressive 19 percent of the opening share price.
The group renewed its empowerment partnership with Kagiso Tiso Holdings, which has an effective shareholding of 7 percent in MMI.
MMI has made significant strategic acquisitions including full ownership of the short-term insurance business full ownership of Namibian operations, and a majority shareholding in the property company Eris.
The group recently announced that it joined the Allianz’s worldwide employee benefits network (All Net) which will expand its African footprint.
The partnership means that MMI will have a network into which Metropolitan International can provide financial products for countries where it previously did not have a presence.