AXA Affin Assurance Bhd, a leading player in the motor insurance sector, expects a better set of results this year, partly due to the company's cost cutting and risk management measures.
President and chief executive officer Giles R. Ward said that for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2003, the company is confident that it would be able to achieve more than 10% growth in gross premiums from last year's RM251mil. AXA Affin's gross premiums for 2001 stood at RM217mil.
Judging from the uptrend, we definitely expect higher gross premiums as well as pre-tax profits this year. Our pre-tax profit for 2002 increased by about 40% to RM26.7mil from RM19.2mil in 2001.
The company's underwriting profits rose to RM16.6mil last year from RM4.2mil in 2001.
We expect better results this year and our overall results generally have improved due to efforts in actively managing risk and making sure AXA Affin's portfolio is never over-exposed to too much high risk business.
We also spend a lot of time in understanding the true costs of the risks the company underwrites,'' Ward said in an interview with StarBiz.
Besides these initiatives, AXA Affin has also been able to contain its overall costs and to this end, it has been constantly re-evaluating its processes and procedures to ensure that they are efficient.
According to Ward, the company is always looking to cut back on activities that do not add value from the customer's point of view. At present, a bulk about 42% of AXA Affin's business comprises motor insurance. Health insurance is another, and this business is growing fast.
Ward said the health insurance business doubled from 2001 to 2002 and expects the figure to go up in the coming years.
The company's health and travel products, he added, also covered expenses incurred from being infected with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
AXA Affin is a joint venture between French-based AXA Group and Affin Holdings Bhd.
As part of its expansion, it would be moving from its present premises in Dayabumi complex to a new office at Wisma Goldhill in Jalan Raja Chulan by November this year.
The reason for the move, Ward said, was to make the company more visible and more accessible to its customers. The new office would comprise an expanded customer service centre.
The location is also ideal as it is situated in the heart of the city's business and financial centres, he added.
In a bid to further provide convenience to its customers, the company would be rolling out SmartLink, an Internet-based transaction system. This would provide on-the-spot services to the company's clients for a range of insurance products.
AXA Affin currently has a workforce of more than 300 and has 12 branches throughout the country.
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