Johannesburg, 12 April 2022 – The Professional Provident Society (PPS Insurance Company), the financial services company focused solely on providing financial solutions for graduate professionals, has ended its 2021 financial year in a favourable position amid an increase in life insurance claims payments in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, exceeding anything witnessed in its 80-year history.
While claims reduced operating profit, PPS credits its performance to its ability to stay true to its purpose of assisting professionals in protecting their income and assets and enhancing their financial security. This is a testament to the strength of PPS’s unique mutuality model, which continued to provide a high level of stability in a very unpredictable environment. In 2021, PPS was able to return enormous value to members through meeting claims and making special benefit allocations to the members’ Profit-Share Accounts due to its solid business strategy, fiscal management and long-term investment approach.
“Given the extraordinary events of the past two years, our focus was on paying valid claims. We were able to go further than our competitors were able to. This allowed us to assist our members as much and as fairly as possible,” says Izak Smit, PPS Group CEO.
“In 2021, the Group paid R6.1 billion in total benefits to members, up 27% from the R4.8 billion in 2020. With PPS’s strong balance sheet and solvency ratio, we were able to absorb this increase (excluding investment returns) without dipping into negative territory” adds Smit.
Sickness and Life claims amounted to R4.3 billion in 2021, up 36% on the R3.1 billion in 2020. Of this, PPS paid almost 12 000 COVID-19-related claims – or one in 12 members – amounting to R1.4 billion. There were 11 587 COVID-19 sickness claims at R424 million in total. COVID-19 death claims at 193 totalled R975 million in 2021.
Commenting on the performance, Smit says: “Although the claims increased, PPS was still able to allocate R5.5 billion as Profit-Share to our members with qualifying products this year (R2.2 billion in 2020). Contributing to this was a great year in the investment markets where our assets performed brilliantly. At PPS, we follow a well-diversified and long-term approach in our investment strategy. This long-term view is a competitive investment edge for PPS. Like a good financial adviser would caution, it is important to remember that past performance is no guarantee of future results.”
Smit adds that new business is the lifeblood of a life assurance business, with the annual premium income of new business written in 2021 in South Africa and Namibia increasing by 23%.
The Group’s insurance gross earned premiums was up 4.7% on the R5.1 billion of 2020. The financial impact of the second and third waves of COVID-19 was felt in 2021. The effects of the third wave came through in the claims experience in the third and fourth quarters of 2021.
All the subsidiaries showed good growth. PPS Investments, which reached its 15-year milestone, has grown into a significant business, recording another excellent year. Gross new investment flows to PPS Investments were R7.1 billion. Surplus before interest and tax of R103 million was up 57% in 2021 This growth is due to fiscal discipline in expense management, good new business and individual fund performance.
We believe in innovating according to the evolving needs of graduate professionals to bolster their benefits and savings capabilities across product portfolios. We are passionate about investing in developing the next generation of professionals who will have a profound impact on South Africa’s future.
Through the University Support, Bursary, Graduate Development and the Learned, Engaged, Accelerated Professionals Work-Readiness (LEAP) programmes, the PPS Foundation makes career journeys a reality.
Looking ahead, Smit says:
“PPS remains in a strong financial position to honour future long-term commitments to our members. We continue to be grateful to our employees and members for their loyalty and our financial adviser network for their immense contribution. There can be no doubt that our shared resilience is what has guided our actions and decisions in supporting and returning value to our members”.
PPS boasts in excess of 150 000 members who enjoy access to a comprehensive suite of financial and healthcare products that are specifically tailored to meet the needs of graduate professionals.
PPS is the largest South African company of its kind, exclusively for graduate professionals, that still embraces an ethos of mutuality, which means that it exists solely for the benefit of its members. Thus, PPS members with qualifying products from PPS Insurance, PPS Investments, PPS Short-Term Insurance and Profmed share in the profits of PPS Insurance, PPS Investments, PPS Short-Term Insurance and PPS Healthcare Administrators via annual allocations to the unique PPS Profit-Share Account. PPS membership provides access to the following tried, tested and trusted products and services: PPS Life Insurance, PPS Short-Term Insurance, PPS Financial Advisory, PPS Investments and Profmed Medical Scheme. Visit www.pps.co.za for more information.
PPS is a licensed insurer conducting life insurance business, a licensed controlling company and an authorised FSP.