Monday 07 November 2016 03:16 PM
Fidelity Life lifts annual profit 43%, boosted by sale of super fund
By Paul McBeth
Nov. 7 (BusinessDesk) - Fidelity Life Assurance, the country's third-biggest life insurer, lifted annual profit 43
percent as it grabbed market share and benefited from the sale of a superannuation fund it managed.
Net profit rose to $34 million in the 12 months ended June 30 from $23.8 million a year earlier, the Auckland-based
company's financial statements show. That included a $6.4 million contribution from discontinued operations, being
Fidelity's former Super-Super Plan, Number 3, a retirement scheme it used to manage and which it sold to Grosvenor
Financial Services in April for $11.4 million.
Earnings from the continuing life insurance operation climbed 27 percent to $27.6 million, or $19.19 per share, on an 11
percent gain in insurance premium income to $222.7 million, giving it 10.7 percent of in-force premium, up from 10.5
percent a year earlier.
The sale of the superannuation scheme "continues our transition towards focusing on life and related insurance business,
and away from savings products," chairman Ian Braddock said in a statement. "As well as striving for growth in new
business, we maintained our focus on keeping as many policies as possible on our books, and once again, the rate of
Fidelity, which was once a takeover target for rival Tower, overhauled its business in 2013, buying Tower's life
insurance business for $145 million in cash and liabilities, and selling its KiwiSaver scheme with more than $300
million under management for 64,800 members to Grosvenor, which recently rebranded as Booster Financial Services, for
The insurer reaped a gain on the sale of the pension scheme's manager of $10.7 million, with the unit attracting a tax
bill of $6.4 million to push it into the red for Fidelity. The scheme had 8,144 members as at March 31, with $492
million under management.
In September, the board declared a final dividend of $3.48 per share, or $5 million, after the insurer's balance date.
That's up from $3.31, or $4.8 million in 2015.
Fidelity's net claims expense rose 28 percent to $27.7 million while its bill for commissions rose 12 percent to $48.9
Braddock said Fidelity embarked on a three-year project to upgrade the firm's policy administration system, in what's
"the single biggest investment made in the history of Fidelity Life" which will allow for more innovation in the
products that it offers, and "future proofs the company for many more years to come".
The insurer added $4.1 million to its internally developed software in the period, taking the total investment to $10.5
million as at June 30, of which $3.3 million has been amortised.