The strong growth in Sanlam Sky and SEB new business volumes were the main contributors to particularly satisfactory growth of 14% in net VNB on a consistent economic basis (CEB) (8% based on the actual economic basis at the end of 2018). Overall net VNB margins declined from 2,94% in 2017 to 2,8% in 2018 (on a CEB), largely due to the underperformance in East Africa and a relatively larger contribution from the lower margin SEB business.
SPF achieved overall growth of 7% (14% on a comparable basis). The strong growth in new business volumes at Sanlam Sky had a major positive effect on VNB, which increased by 16% (25% on a comparable basis). Capitec contributed R80 million. The Sanlam Sky VNB margin declined slightly from 8,88% in 2017 to 8,30% in 2018 due to a change in mix of business to lower margin group business. The Recurring premium sub-cluster and Strategic Business Development achieved growth of 13% (23% on a CEB and 20% on a CEB and excluding BrightRock). MiWayLife made a welcome first contribution of R11 million, augmented by good growth at BrightRock, a change in mix to more profitable lines of business, positive modelling changes and lower acquisition costs. VNB margins improved commensurately. Glacier experienced an 8% decline in VNB (6% on a comparable basis) due to the change in mix from higher margin endowment business to guaranteed and annuity business.
Net VNB at SEM declined by 3% (up 6% on a CEB and excluding Ghana and Saham Finances). Namibia did exceptional well pursuant to the strong growth in entry-level market sales, growing its net VNB by more than 20%. Most other businesses contributed satisfactory growth, apart from Botswana, Kenya, Uganda and Malawi that underperformed in line with their weak new business production and declining file sizes. Nigeria’s contribution was broadly in line with 2017 despite strong new business growth, due to a one-off regulatory increase in capital requirements that resulted in a higher cost of capital charge. Saham Finances contributed R38 million compared to R20 million in 2017.
The good growth in Sanlam Corporate recurring and single premium business, combined with modelling improvements, supported a 64% (71% on a comparable basis) increase in the cluster’s VNB contribution.