Libya's largest insurer posts a sharp drop in performance due to the 2011 conflict, but still generates an annual net profit of LD8.4m ($6.7m).

Annual reports published by the Libya Insurance Company (LIC) show that net profits fell 49% from LD9.5m ($7.5m) in 2010, with gross revenues down 33.5% from LD141.7m ($112.5m) to LD94.2m ($74.8m).

Nonetheless, the company said that it had recorded a "positive performance" despite the 2011 conflict in Libya and greater competition in the insurance market, and had managed to maintain its "leading role in the market".

Some 96% of LIC's revenues came from underwritings, with the remainder generated from its investment portfolio. Total assets stood at LD462.3m ($367m) by the end of 2011 compared to LD300.4m ($238.4m) a year earlier.

A breakdown of insurance premiums by category showed that slightly over half of LIC's underwriting income came from fire and medical insurance, with car insurance the third-largest category by value.

Income from most types of premiums fell sharply in 2011, with car insurance premiums down 83% year-on-year, but health insurance premiums rose 43% year-on-year and maritime vessels insurance were up 168%.

Operating expenses were LD34.1m ($27.1m) in 2011, of which 47% were staff and overheads and 53% were claims.

LIC said that it had made agreements with international re-insurance companies that had helped it to avoid further losses, and had tried to diversify its revenue streams to focus more on its investment portfolio.

In 2011 that portfolio included some LD137m ($108.7m) in real estate and LD96.7m ($76.7m) of stakes in other Libyan companies, plus other assets and loans.

It also said it had hired an IT consultancy to help improve the infrastructure of its internal network, and had contracted an IT network security company.

LIC was originally established in 1964 and from 1981 to 1997 held a monopoly over the insurance market. In 2008 it listed 7 million shares on the Libyan Stock Market (LSM), where its market capitalisation as of 14 June was LD70m ($55.6m).

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