Covid accelerates digital transformation at Liberty


Covid accelerates digital transformation at Liberty

Published Date: 2020-11-20 | Source: Stephen Gunnion | Author: Stephen Gunnion

Covid accelerates digital transformation at Liberty

The insurer says a pandemic reserve set up earlier this year will be reassessed at the end of December.

Liberty Holdings says the transformation of its business towards a digital enterprise has been successfully accelerated - out of necessity. It's been forced to adopt measures to handle new ways of working and deal with staff, advisers and clients as a result of Covid-19.

In an operational update, the insurance group said although the relaxation of lockdown restrictions had improved its ability to engage with all stakeholders, pressure on new business volumes and margins was likely to continue given the financial stress that was prevalent in the country. Indexed new business sales declined by 12.7% in the nine months ended September, with corporate sales in particular under pressure.

Asset manager STANLIB South Africa grew assets to R577 billion over the period, up from R568 billion in December, due to the net impact of good third party net cash inflows partly offset by net intragroup outflows and negative investment market returns. STANLIB Africa's assets under management declined to R17.1 billion from R28.4 billion, mainly as a result of the sale of its Kenyan and Ugandan business in June.

Liberty said its balance sheet and healthy capital position remained strong, supporting the R3 billion pandemic reserve fund it set up earlier this year to deal with the fallout from Covid-19. Actual death rates experienced by the insurer in the period to end-September had broadly tracked its projections adopted for the establishment of the reserve.

Liberty said financial market volatility was likely to continue to have a material impact on the returns from its Shareholder Investment Portfolio (SIP). Property exposure concentration had not increased materially in the SPI from June's level.

Its shares fell 0.8% to R65.30 yesterday.

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