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Partners Life first-half insurance profit rose 14%

Friday 23rd December 2016

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Partners Life, a life insurance company whose owners include private equity firm Blackstone, said first-half earnings rose 14 percent as premium income grew faster than expenses.

Life company underlying profit rose to $5.1 million in the six months ended Sept. 30, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Premium revenue rose to $81.9 million from $64.9 million, more than twice the increase of claims expense which rose to $31.8 million from $24.7 million.

In May, Partners Group Holdings, the immediate parent of Partners Life, entered into a subscription agreement with Blackstone to invest $200 million in three tranches over the next two years, which it said would give the buyout firm "a significant minority position" in the company. Blackstone currently holds 23 percent. Founder and managing director Naomi Ballantyne said at the time that the funds would meet the insurer's medium-term capital needs and it wouldn't need to turn to the equity market. She did expect Partners Life to go public at some stage.

In-force premiums rose to $189 million from $152.8 million and the company said it was on track to reach $200 million.

It is effectively the third insurance business that Ballantyne has built, having been a founding employee of Sovereign and the founder of Club Life, which was sold to ING (NZ) in 2004. She left ING Life in 2009 to set up an advisory business called US Advice, which was acquired by Partners Group Holdings in 2011 and became the base for the group’s adviser services arm. 

The company's comprehensive income rose to $15.1 million in the first half from $2.8 million a year earlier on an international financial reporting standards (IFRS) basis, which includes adjustments for items including interest rate movements. Its gross claims ratio of 38.8 percent was little changed from 38.1 percent a year earlier. Management expenses edged up to $20.9 million from $19.4 million.

Partners Life's solvency ratio rose to 163 percent from 136 percent.

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