Regional consolidation: this year´s challenge for Suramericana S.A.
"2015 was a transformative year for our Company and one in which, once again, we were able to meet the targets set" stated Chief Executive Officer Gonzalo A. Pérez In terms of its financial results, Suramericana S.A. posted COP 8.47 billion in consolidated revenues, for a 17% increase at year-end 2015. However the Company has formed a new operating structure this year with which to take on the challenges of our Latin American operations. The comprehensive handling of current trends and risks continues to be a strategic focus for the Company and one that sets us apart from the rest of the industry. Medellin, February 24, 2016 - Suramericana S.A,, specializing in insurance and trend and risk management, presented its financial results for 2015, as well as new challenges faced as "a Latin American company for Latin America", after signing a contract to acquire RSA´s insurance operations in 6 countries within the region, a process that is currently pending regulatory approval and is expected to be completed during the first half of 2016. With this newly acquired business, Suramericana S.A, shall be attending a total of 15.7 million clients in Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Panama, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic, which further to diversifying its geographical presence is also extending its growth potential in reaching 71% of the population in Latin America thereby consolidating a platform that allows the Company to provide regional support to its clients in handling the different trends and risks to which they are exposed. In order to address these challenges, Gonzalo Alberto Pérez, the Company's Chief Executive Officer, also introduced a new operating model, which includes setting up corporate offices on a regional basis and in conjunction to this conforming teams to be led by a CEO appointed for each country. In the case of Colombia, Juan David Escobar, was introduced as the new CEO of Seguros SURA Colombia, with Carlos Andres Angel being appointed as Vice President, responsible for the social security operations in the Company's home base. In terms of its financial results, the Company reported COP 8.47 billion (USD 2.62 billion) in total revenues from its subsidiaries at year-end 2015 for a 17% growth. However, net income on the part of Suramericana´s subsidiaries came to COP 533 thousand million (USD 165 million) given the negative impact of various factors such as wealth tax accruing in Colombia, as well as a decree governing settlement payments for the country´s Workers´ Compensation system, not to mention the amount of volatility prevailing on the financial markets. Shareholders´ equity rose by 15% to COP 2.89 billion (USD 895 million), while reserves, which back up the Company's insurance commitments, stood at COP 8.14 billion (USD 2.52 billion), which was 14% higher compared to those of the previous year. In Colombia, the Suramericana subsidiaries ended the year with a 23.8% share of the local insurance market, thus remaining in No. 1 position. The Property and Casualty Insurance Division posted COP 39 thousand million (USD 12 million) in total net income with the Life Insurance Division obtaining COP 311 thousand million (USD 96 million) in net income. As for the Social Security Division, ARL SURA, the Workers´ Compensation subsidiary posted a 10% increase in premiums along with a 29.7% share of the market. On the other hand, EPS SURA now has a membership base of 2,270,000, representing a 10.1% share of the market, while the number of health care services provided came to 30 million at year-end. "2015 was a transformative year for our Company and one in which, once again, we were able to meet the targets set In terms of our operating performance, all lines of business did well, which is significant especially in such a complex environment as the one we are seeing at the present time. But undoubtedly the most important of all factors was the transformation we began to undergo following the acquisition of RSA´s insurance operations in 6 different countries in Latin America, which not only entails a world of challenges but also represents an opportunity to continue to further ourselves as a Company that provides wellbeing and competitiveness through a comprehensive handling of trends and risks, "stated Gonzalo A. Pérez. Sound financial position As part of the Company´s regional expansion strategy, it also acquired Seguros Banistmo in Panama. With this new addition, Seguros SURA shall continue to drive the development of the Panamanian insurance market, providing solutions in line with its strategy to become a truly multi-channel, multi-product and multi-regional Company, providing financial protection, competitiveness and well-being to its policy holders. Also, following the announcement of the acquisitions made in 2015, the financial strength of the insurance companies belonging to Suramericana S.A. (including Life, Property and Casualty and Workers´ Compensation) was reaffirmed in the form of a BBB international rating along with a stable outlook by Standard & Poor's Rating Services. This rating was based, according to S&P, on the Companies´ strong competitive position, a well-diversified business, their leadership of the Colombian insurance market as well as the significant recognition that the SURA brand commands. It was also noted that in 2015,Suramericana S.A. remained one of the 10 largest insurance groups in Latin America, according to a ranking report compiled by the Mapfre Foundation. This report, which took into account the volume of premiums written at the end of 2014, placed Suramericana S.A. as the ninth largest insurance group operating in this part of the world, being the fifth largest of Latin American origin and the largest Spanish-speaking insurance firm. Overall these top 10 companies represent a 44% share of the Latin American insurance market. About Suramericana S.A. With over 70 years of experience, Suramericana S.A. is the leading insurance and risk management company in Colombia and Central America, with a total of 10 million clients. It recently signed an agreement to acquire RSA´s operations in Latin America, through which it shall obtain another 5.6 million clients in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia. This Company, whose shareholders are Grupo SURA (with a 81.1% stake) as well as the German reinsurance firm, Munich Re, with the remaining 18.9%, provides its clients with the SURA brand of property and casualty, life as well as workers´ compensation insurance as well as mandatory and complementary health plans, among others.