The country’s largest short-term insurer has attributed the 47% increase in its profits to stricter underwriting and to not chasing new policies at the expense of profits. Santam, which has 1-million policyholders and commands over 22% of the short-term insurance market in SA, increased headline earnings for the year to December to R2.3bn from R1.6bn in 2017. The highlight of the results was an increase in conventional insurance underwriting margin to 9.2% from 6% in 2017. This was above Santam’s own target range of between 4% and 8%. Underwriting margin shows the percentage of collected premiums the insurer kept after paying claims and other expenses. Santam benefited from a 7% increase in gross written premiums in the general insurance business, while gross claims paid decreased to R18.4bn compared to R19bn in 2017. In 2017, the company experienced a surge in claims after severe catastrophic events, including Knysna fires and floods. It paid R2bn in claims for these events alone i...

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