GNIC holds AGM on sound financial footing and renewed hopes

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By Oumie Mendy

The Gambia National Insurance Company (GNIC) on Thursday held its congress on a sound financial footing recording a profit of over D9M last year after years of unwanted sabbatical.

The one-time respected insurance company has been faced with serious issues over the past years but its new board has worked extremely hard to revive it. Senior functionaries of the company, stakeholders, ex-officials and members of the business community were among an impressive collection of high-profile guests at the event. 

Recounting the challenges encountered by the company, the Managing Director Bubacarr Jarju said as of 31 December 2015 GNIC was unable to pay its debts and could not therefore comply with statutory requirements.

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“The company was on the brink of collapse and customers, agents, and brokers all stopped doing business with us as the image of the company was negative. Staff turnover was very poor too as staff were leaving the company on a regular basis,” he said.

The company, he added, went through a series of legal battles, ranging from issues of shareholders, tax liabilities and claims owed to unpaid medical bills from service providers under the Medical Insurance Scheme.

“On one occasion a clinic had a court order to close GNIC because of its failure to settle medical bills despite several reminders but the new management’s response to those unprecedented challenges has been outstanding,” he added.

MD Jarju said the company continues to significantly grow in the amount of written premium income from D8.2M in 2015 to D40M in 2021 reflecting an increase of 387.81% which is a remarkable success for the company.

He said the company was also able to pay all its liabilities and obligations amounting to D28, 973, 304.02 and brought forward losses of D17, 227, 204. 00

“We were also able to transform from a loss-making company in 2016 to a profitable and solvent company in subsequent years. GNIC has now been repositioned among the top insurance companies in the insurance industry,” he added.

He revealed that the company has made a profit of D3, 97,893.99 in 2017, D1, 680,585.46 in 2018, D1, 271, 320.34 in 2019, D13,625,321.47 in 2020 and D9,608,701.64 in 2021,

“The total financial investments also increased from D13, 213, 447. 82 in 2017 to D30, 813, 271. 65 in 2021 reflecting an increase of 133.2%.

The statement of financial position has also grown significantly as the net asset position was raised from D14,254,337 in 2017 to D39,917,281.29 in 2021 which shows an income of 180%,” he said.

Mr Jarju added that the company’s creditors account has reduced by 79.60% as most of the company’s liabilities inherited from the previous management in 2015 has been paid.

“The company is optimistic with strong commitment to service delivery as it is now in the position to start planning to pay dividends to shareholders who have been patient enough,” he announced. 

The GNIC’s chairman Alhagie Masamba Jobe stated: “To regain the deteriorating confidence of the customers, agents, brokers, other stakeholders and the general public at large; the board, management and staff worked on new policies, guidelines and strategies to revive the company from its coma.

He said the new management has decided to write off certain debts concerning past brokers and staff of the company.

Chairman Jobe said the company last paid bonus to staff and dividend to shareholders in 1995 before the dividend paid in 2008 from proceeds of sales of securities in AGIB Bank after 13 years.

“Now we are in 2022 after another 13 years without any dividend being paid. However, with this newly appointed Board of Directors and the new impetus injected into the management under the leadership of our young and dynamic MD, I would want to make a pledge here today that the lack of payment of dividends will be a thing of the past.

” Henceforth we shall do our utmost best to meet the main requirements of our esteemed shareholders by resuming the payment of dividends annually as fulfillment of the expected adequate return on your investment,” he said.

GNIC headquarters

He said the company had been allocated a piece of land at the Kanifing Institutional Area Extension layout since 2003 for a proposed headquarters’ site.

“The only development that has taken place at the site is the construction of the perimeter fence a small corner house and a borehole to avoid the land being re-possessed. The company is currently paying an annual rental fee of D1, 26, 000,” he said. Mr Jobe however said D12 Million has been secured in the company’s 2022 budget out of a total design cost of D25 Million for an Ultra-Model Design of the GNIC headquarters to be constructed,” he said.

Kalinin Jaiteh was elected as shareholder representative on the board.

Mr Jaiteh promised to contribute immensely for the benefit of the shareholders.

The congress also witnessed the consideration and adoption of the company’s 2012 to 2021 annual reports and audited accounts,

election of minority shareholders’ representative on the board, endorsement of the appointment of the new board members and authorization of the appointment or re-appoint of new external auditors and a new company lawyer. 

Certificates of appreciation were issued to deserving shareholders.