Canadian Underwriter

Optimum General “back in the black” in 2003

March 3, 2004   by Canadian Underwriter

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Montreal-based Optimum General Inc. (TSX: OGI.A) made its return to profitability official posting net income of $2 million, or $0.17 per share, for 2003. This is a rebound from the net loss of US$7.4 million, or $0.68 per share, recorded in 2002. Much of this growth came in the fourth quarter, with net income of $1.1 million, or $0.09 per share, compared to a net loss of $4.7 million, or $0.43 per share in the fourth quarter of 2002.
Gross written premiums were down slightly to $144.5 million last year versus $145.2 million in 2002, representing the stabilization of premium after two years’ of the company withdrawing from lines and territories. Premium growth was seen in the fourth quarter, when GWP hit $37.5 million, up from $34.3 million in fourth quarter 2002.
Perhaps the brightest note, the company knocked its claims ratio down to 58.8% in 2003, from 76.3% in 2002. For the fourth quarter specifically, the claims ratio dropped to 57.3%, down from 88.8% in fourth quarter 2002.
Expenses were down just slightly in 2003 to 43.4% in 2003 from 44.2% in 2002, with the company noting that expenses continued to be challenged by increasing reinsurance rates.
Investment income was down to $4.7 million in 2003 from $7.5 million the year prior, on the back of low interest rates and reduced capital gains.

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