Acorn Life profits almost double to €1.79m

THE insurance and investment company Acorn Life saw profits nearly double last year, but says new business growth will be difficult following the departure of its reinsurers in March.

According to documents filed recently at the Companies Registration Office, Acorn’s reinsurers have decided to not continue to finance new business. The directors of the company said in the accounts that following this decision it will be “difficult” to maintain new business growth and a new business plan will be necessary.

“Our reinsurer, in the context of its own circumstances, has decided not to continue to finance future new business and existing finance outstanding will be repaid in accordance with the terms of our agreement.”

According to the accounts gross premiums written in 2002 were €74.9 million, up from €66.3m in 2001, while operating profit nearly doubled from €981,000 in 2001 to €1.79m.

New business premiums were ahead with annual premium totalling €22.6m in 2002 with single premium coming to €15.2m

“New business performing of the company has been strong for the fifth year in a row, although this was in part due to the Government’s SSIA scheme. Partly reflecting this, 2003 has started slowly and the extra compliance rules being introduced will make sales growth more difficult,” the directors added in their report.

The documents show that Acorn Life has assets of well over €200 million.

The company also expanded its workforce with 102 staff employed from 87 a year earlier. As a result its wages and salary bill came to €4.99m, equivalent to an average annual salary per employee of €48,000.

The company’s employee pension fund has a deficit of €1.35m at the end of 2002. The Galway-based company’s directors also saw their pay rise, taking home salaries of €669,000 from €636,000 in 2001.

Acorn Life’s directors also received emoluments of €72,000 and pension contributions of €33,000. The directors are listed as Jonathan Gould, Patrick Byrne, Gerry O’Connell and John Gibson.

Acorn Life was founded in the 1980’s and partly owned by a New Zealand insurance firm but was taken over by its management. Mr O’Connell is the largest shareholder according to its accounts.

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