life insurance industry results

Our life insurance industry analysis includes 21 of the major life insurance licenses in South Africa. As far as possible we have tried to include the licensed entities’ results, rather than those of the group. This makes the results more comparable but was not always possible. Eleven of these entities have a June year-end, and the information included (being June 2020) does not fully reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and peoples’ lives.

Unfortunately, many of these entities are not listed and their results for 2021 are not published at the time of preparing our survey. Nine of the entities have a December year-end and AIG Life stands alone as the only entity with a November year-end. According to the Prudential Authority statistics published for the period ended 31 March 2021, there are sixty primary life insurers, five life cell insurers and two microinsurers. This license count is down nine from the year before, as ten primary life entities having been deregistered and one new micro-insurer has been registered.

Whilst, by count, the survey only covers 32% of the licensed entities, by total assets it covers 88% of the market. It is interesting to note that the top five life insurers1 (by assets) are all listed and account for 82% of the market’s total assets. These assets grew by 3.5% for the surveyed entities as a whole, which is fairly consistent with the performance of the JSE All Share Index (ALSI) over the same period. The ALSI has recovered somewhat since December 2020 and we would expect to see that feeding through into the results of the larger life insurance companies. For the larger entities, this has a direct impact on the asset-based fees earned over the period. Whilst the listed entities represent the norm here, the smaller remaining entities outgrew their larger counterparts with a 9.3% growth in their assets.