(Hamilton, Bermuda, December 10, 2018) - Argus Group Holdings Limited (the "Group" or the "Argus Group") today announced net earnings of $10.0 million for the six months ended September 30, 2018, compared with a net loss of $2.3 million in the corresponding period in 2017.
- Strong underlying earnings from operations
- Investment earnings of $7.9 million
- Dividend declared of nine cents per share
Alison Hill, Chief Executive Officer of the Argus Group, says: "We are pleased with this solid result which is supported by strength in our insurance operations and strong investment performance. Earlier this year, we took decisive short-term actions to improve the long-term profitability of the Group and we remain confident that these actions will lead to sustained earnings and future growth."
"The Group uses the combined operating ratio to track overall performance of our underwriting operations, which compares premium income to the cost of claims and operating expenses. For the six months to September 30, 2018, the combined operating ratio for our insurance businesses was 80.5% compared with 93.6% for the corresponding prior year period."
"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."
"Our combined Property & Casualty Division has reported an increase in net earnings when compared with the corresponding period in the prior year. The absence of windstorms in Bermuda, in part offset by large motor losses in Europe, have underpinned these positive results. Fee income generated by our Employee Benefits, Wealth Management and Insurance Brokerage businesses of $12.3 million remain stable."
"The Group's investment portfolio has generated positive returns during the six month period to September 30, 2018, 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 benefitted from a one-time realized 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.
The strong financial position and underlying earnings strength of the Group has allowed the Board to declare an interim dividend of nine cents per share payable on January 15, 2019 to shareholders of record on December 31, 2018.