Liberty CEO David Munro. Picture: Robert Tshabalala
Liberty CEO David Munro. Picture: Robert Tshabalala

Liberty Holdings says its retail insurance business in SA battled to lift new business volumes in the three months to end-March.

“The SA retail new business volumes remained under pressure, while the Liberty Corporate and Liberty Africa Insurance businesses have seen an improvement in new business inflows,” the group said on Friday.

Indexed new business sales in the SA retail insurance unit grew just 1% from a year before to R1.5bn.

Recurring premium new business sales were up 4%, though single premium new business sales declined.

As a result, that unit saw net customer cash outflows of R252m, versus inflows of R514m a year before.

“Intense focus on addressing the mix of new business volumes and margin across all business lines is continuing, together with strict discipline in managing the expense base,” Liberty said.

Liberty Corporate’s indexed new business sales rose 22% year on year to R209m.

In the Stanlib SA business, assets under management grew to R576bn from R549bn at the end of 2018.

Liberty Africa Insurance grew indexed new business volumes to R101m from R62m a year before, while assets under management in the Stanlib Africa unit were unchanged from the end of 2018 at R51bn.

“We expect the South African economic environment to remain subdued for most of 2019,” said Liberty, which is led by David Munro.