Listed non-life insurance companies posted higher profits at the end of 2020 when most businesses in the country were dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic blows.
Insurers also recommended more dividends for their shareholders compared to 2019.
In 2020, 83.33% of general insurers posted positive growth out of 30 companies. Of the 30, profits of six companies soared by over 50%.
According to industry insiders, the companies are trying to follow the 15% commission circular strictly.
Professor Abu Ahmed, a capital market analyst, said insurance companies had shown abnormally high profits amid the pandemic even though all businesses remained slow at the time.
He said, "I do not know how they made so much profit."
The professor also advised investors to be aware of insurance companies.
Raw material imports in the pharmaceutical sector increased during the pandemic. Many companies in this sector were able to reduce management expenses, other costs, and claims amid the pandemic. As a result, the companies made more profits in 2020 compared to 2019.
Last year, general insurance companies contributed 18% of the total Dhaka Stock Exchange transactions and investors got a 97.5% return from this sector.
Paramount Insurance Company posted 372% higher profit in 2020 compared to the previous year. It said its net profit had jumped due to the increase in premium income, underwriting profit, and interest and investment income.
In 2020, its gross premium income was Tk39.37 crore, which was 35% higher than that in 2019. Besides, underwriting profit, and interest and investment earnings increased by 245% and 400% respectively.
Prime Insurance's net profit was Tk5.35 crore in 2020, up from Tk1.75 crore the year before. Its gross premium income was Tk74.33 crore and net premium income was Tk15.62 crore.
In 2020, Green Delta Insurance reported its highest profit growth in the last five years. The company – which manages fire, marine, motor, and miscellaneous insurances – posted a 122% increase in profit after taxes year-on-year.
It attributed the profit growth to a 34% reduction in its agency costs, a 31% decrease in insurance claim expenses, and an 18% drop in management expenses.
Currently, there are 78 insurance companies – 32 life and 46 non-life – in the insurance sector of Bangladesh. Of them, 50 are listed on the stock exchanges.
Experts have been saying for a long time that Bangladesh is one of the most untapped insurance markets in terms of penetration rate. Awareness and a strong culture of insurance service behind economic activities can help the industry thrive.
According to the Swiss Re Group, a leading global reinsurer, the overall insurance penetration in Bangladesh stood at a meagre 0.49% in 2019, the lowest among emerging Asian countries.