Middlesea Insurance p.l.c. held its 34th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on the 24th of April at the Radisson Blu Resort. Around 300 shareholders attended the meeting, during which the results of the Group were highlighted.
In his address, Middlesea’s Chairman Martin Galea, said “2014 has proved to be a satisfactory year for the Middlesea Group.” With reference to the local insurance market he said that it has seen an increase of 7 percent, “and it is with much pride that I can report that Middlesea has outperformed this growth by double, whilst in the life market MSV Life p.l.c. has essentially taken up all the market growth in 2014.”
Mr Galea emphasised the company’s commitment to its customers and shareholders. “It is incumbent on us to ensure that we provide relevant, innovative and competitive insurance cover for our clients. We must invest to ensure that we can provide the best service to our customers, that we manage risk which remains our core skill, and that we can then provide an adequate return for our shareholders.” He added that the Board of Directors has decided to maintain the dividend payout to the same level as the previous year, at about 82% of the current year’s profit after tax.
Mr Galea expressed his pride in Middlesea’s skilled workforce, who constantly rise to the challenges presented to them and implement the company’s policies diligently. He also spoke of the company’s ongoing investment in IT processes, reflecting the company’s commitment to be at the forefront of change, whilst maintaining the highest levels of security and integrity of data.
In his speech, Mr Galea also referred to the resolution put for the shareholders’ approval to change the name of the company to MAPFRE Middlesea p.l.c. to reflect the changes which the Company is undergoing and its identity as part of the global enterprise. This move will capitalise on the brand name of such a global company which is represented in 46 countries and which generated €26.37 billion in revenue in 2014. He also mentioned Bank of Valletta p.l.c a committed shareholder and partner in the group, which also contributed to the Group’s success, with whom the relationship remains close.
The Annual General Meeting was also addressed by Mr. Alfredo Munoz Perez, President and CEO of Middlesea Insurance. He explained that in terms of premium written growth, 2014 was an excellent year with both Life business generated by MSV Life p.l.c and General Business, growing at double digit rates and reaching the highest levels in the group’s history. “Retention rates are still very high and clients’ perceptions are very good overall as shown in surveys carried out.”
Mr Munoz expressed his optimism for new and increased opportunities in the local market. “We still face significant issues, such as the increased competition and low rates in some classes of insurance. However economic growth and improved standard of living and lifestyles in Malta will bring new chances to those who will be ready to accept the challenge, invest and innovate.”
Mr Munoz informed the shareholders that the gross premiums for General Business increased by 12.9%, the number of policies written increased by more than 14%, the Total Assets of the Group increased by 13% , the technical account balance improved by 55% whilst allocated investment income increased by 31%. With regards to long term business, investment income had a record year with high fair value movements reaching in total Eur119 million (21% more than in the already successful year 2013). It was also a positive year for the Group’s subsidiaries Bee Insurance Management and Middlesea Assist Ltd.
During the year, the company moved even closer to the customers with the opening of new Regional Offices, the introduction of new 24/7 services via phone, new features on the website and new mobile apps.
During his intervention Alfredo Munoz referred to some views about the future and stated that there is room for more growth since in Malta the market is under-insured with Middlesea being in a favourable position to continue growing. Increasing regulations and consumer awareness will oblige service providers to be faster, more efficient and to add value to their products beyond marketing statements. Therefore internally the company shall continue to strengthen its structures, planning and monitoring tools and control features to ensure effectiveness in implementing structures. From a governance perspective, whilst the new Solvency II regulations pose a challenge to the insurance sector, Middlesea Insurance is well prepared for this change. The company also seeks to continue making a positive contribution to society through its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
The shareholders approved all the resolutions of the meeting including financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2014 and the change of the company’s name to MAPFRE Middlesea p.l.c. Mr Charles Borg, Ms Antoinette Caruana, Mr John Cassar White, Mr David G. Curmi, Mr Javier Fernández-Cid, Mr Martin Galea, Mr Pedro López Solanes, Mr Paul Testaferrata Moroni Viani and Mr Joseph F.X. Zahra were appointed as directors on the Board of Directors.
Further information on the Group’s financial results can be obtained from Middlesea Insurance’s website www.middlesea.com.
Middlesea Insurance p.l.c. (C-5553) is authorised by the Malta Financial Services Authority to carry on both Long Term and General Business under the Insurance Business Act, 1998. COM 27042015 913.