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Insurers Groan as Forex Volatility, Climatic Change Skyrocket Claims

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  • Insurers Groan as Forex Volatility, Climatic Change Skyrocket Claims

Insurance industry Operators have in the past two years been battling to keep head above waters owing to huge claims arising from twin problem of high exchange rate, which has seen the Nigerian commodity price index moving at geometric increase rate and the adverse effects of climatic change with its attendant risk of damages to lives and properties.

These combined with the adverse effects of the economic recession, have lured many people into looking at insurance claims as means to weather their storms through filing of fraudulent claims.

Chairman, Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), Eddie Efekoha, recently expressed concern that underwriters in recent times, have been contending with the challenge of fake claims, stressing that to outsmart the fraudsters, operators now carry out proper investigation to ascertain genuine claims.

He however said despite the harsh economic times, operators must live up to their responsibilities in paying genuine claims, assuring that activities of claims fraudsters cannot deter insurers from settling claims of those who actually needed to be indemnified.

Other insurance managers, sharing their claims experience between 2016 and first quarter 2017, said since 2016, Nigerian insurers, have been exposed to high claims ratio due to uncontrollable social and environmental problems.

The insurers said their claims experience in 2016, more than doubled what it was in 2015 while what they have so far seen in the first quarter of 2017 is unspeakable.

Group Managing Director Royal Exchange Plc, Muktari Auwalu, corroborating what the NIA chairman said on the industry’s claims experience within the period, said by the nature of insurance business, which is periodic and is renewable on annual basis, the high exchange rate of Naira to dollar, has more than doubled what they spent in paying claims to their clients whose properties were damaged during the course of the year.

The NIA Chairman, narrating the operators’ claims experience during the year 2016, said during renewals in 2015,when premiums were paid, it was paid based on old Naira exchange rate to dollar which was N196.00 to a dollar but now claims are paid based on current exchange rate which is over N400.00 to a dollar.

He gave instance of third party motor insurance, saying the cost of repairing even the least damage on a vehicle has more than doubled because of high prices of motor spare parts adding that the same goes to other classes of business and claims emanating from them.

Muktari, said the year 2016, came with challenges of huge claims coming the way of the industry operators particularly as a result of negative impact of climatic change.

He said against the backdrop of the economic recession , premium generation has not really been a serious problem to insurers but huge claims experience coming their way particularly this year as a result of negative effects of climatic change.

The Royal Exchange boss, said: “In the year 2016, we envisaged a lot of claims coming our way due to climatic change. There has been heavy rain in the northern part of the country, before now, it has not been like that. With the climate change, there is heavy rain in the north this year .We have not seen that before in the north we have only seen it in the south so they are not prepared for it. So many houses have been affected, also, the terrorists activities have caused a lot of pipeline vandalism, the terrorists activities in the north, in form of Gboko Haram, many police, soldiers were killed, and these have group life cover, houses were damaged, all these brought a lot of claims to the industry in the current year. There are a lot of factors that have affected claims rate in this 2016”, he stated.

On the way forward for the industry, Muktari, said the most important thing is how to increase operators’ capacity of doing businesses so that the industry will have larger capacity to accommodate more risks instead of ceding huge risks outside the local market.

He said with improved capacity, operators can focus and reposition the industry so that they can retain more risk in the local market and with retention of more businesses locally, there will be creation of more jobs for the teeming population of Nigerian youths.

He said with improved capacity, there will also be rapid growth of the insurance industry, and there will be a lot of funds for shareholders to enjoy and the industry will become one of the greatest industry in Africa and part of the world in general.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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U.S. New Home Sales Jump 108% Over the Last 10 Years

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Data presented by Buy Shares indicates that the United States’ new home sales annual rate has grown by 108.45%. The growth was recorded between 2010 and 2020.

Homes sales spear amid pandemic

The highest sales were recorded this year at 697, 542 as of September 28th, a growth of 2.9% from last year’s 677,386. Over the last decade, the lowest sales were registered in 2011 at 309,853, a drop of 7.40% from 2010’s 334,624.

From the data, it is clear that the new home sales have been rising despite the economic uncertainties. According to the research report:

“The rise in new home sales is a good indicator considering that the United States real estate market was among the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The high sales show a rising momentum as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic.”

The research also overviewed the sales relating to the existing homes where the annual rate jumped by 128%. From the data, the highest sales were recorded this year at about 1.3 million. Last year, the figure stood at 1.2 million. The lowest sales were recorded ten years ago at 577,774.

An overview of the new home median sale price shows a spike of 46.96% The existing home median sale price had a growth of 62.08%. In 2020, the new home sale median price was $332,560, while ten years ago the figure stood at $219,484. On the other hand, the median sale for existing homes stands at $280,134 while ten years ago, the price was $174,843.

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USAID/Power Africa Announces $2.6m in Healthcare Electrification Grants to Solar Energy Companies in Nine Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa

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 Power Africa, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), announces grants totaling $2,620,650 to solar energy companies to provide reliable, affordable off-grid electricity to nearly 300 healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Nearly 60 percent of all healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity, and of those that do, only 34 percent of hospitals and 28 percent of health clinics have reliable, 24-hour access.  Energy is critical for powering essential devices, medical and sterilization equipment, diagnostics, cold storage for vaccines and medication, information technology, and lights to enable the delivery of continuous health care services. Efficient health services and responses to diseases – including COVID-19 – depend on reliable access to electricity.

In support of the accelerated provision of off-grid solar energy to healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa, Power Africa is awarding grants to the following solar energy companies: 

  • Havenhill Synergy Ltd. (Nigeria)
  • KYA-Energy Group (Togo)
  • Muhanya Solar Ltd. (Zambia)
  • Nanoé (Madagascar)
  • OffGridBox (Rwanda)
  • OnePower (Lesotho)
  • PEG Solar (Ghana)
  • SolarWorks! (Mozambique)
  • Zuwa Energy (Malawi)

These companies will utilize Power Africa funding to provide off-grid solar electricity solutions to 288 healthcare facilities across the nine countries represented.

“Solar energy holds great potential to expand and improve health care delivery in sub-Saharan Africa, and off-grid solar technology offers a clean, affordable, and smart solution to electrify healthcare facilities located beyond the reach of national electricity grids,” said Mark Carrato, Power Africa Acting Coordinator. “Power Africa’s experience shows that off-grid solar energy systems can be rapidly deployed to even the most rural facilities.”

“These awards demonstrate what we can accomplish when the public and private sectors join together to break down the barriers to reliable electricity for rural healthcare facilities,” said Chris Milligan, Counselor to USAID, on September 22, 2020 during a virtual event announcing the grant awardees.

ABOUT THE GRANTEES AND HOW THEY WILL POWER HEALTHCARE IN RURAL COMMUNITIES

Havenhill Synergy will electrify 21 rural healthcare facilities in Oyo State, Nigeria, using an energy-as-a-service business model. The facilities are mostly within peri-urban communities with limited reliable electricity access. Havenhill will provide long-term operation and maintenance of the solar energy systems.

KYA-Energy Group will electrify 20 health centers in Togo. In addition to electricity access, KYA will provide automated solar hand washing stations for infection prevention and solar phone charging stations for generating additional income.  

In partnership with the Churches Health Association of Zambia, Muhanya Solar Ltd. will provide electricity access to seven rural health facilities in Zambia. Muhanya will also electrify staff housing to generate revenue for the operation and maintenance of the solar systems installed at the health facilities. 

Nanoé will electrify 35 rural health facilities in the Ambanja and Ambilobe districts of Madagascar. The company will deploy nano-grids with the health facilities as anchors and connections running to staff housing. Electricity will be sold to the surrounding communities to generate income for the operation and maintenance of the nano-grids. 

With their containerized solution, OffGridBox will provide renewable energy and clean water to six rural clinics in Rwanda. The company will also set up a pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) business model, selling electricity and clean water to the surrounding communities.

OnePower will electrify seven rural health facilities in Lesotho, using the facilities as anchor loads for mini-grids. In addition to powering the health facilities, the mini-grids will provide electricity access for rural communities served by the facilities. 

PEG Solar will provide electricity access to 91 rural community healthcare facilities in Ghana. PEG will adopt a private sector approach to energy service delivery for public health facilities, enabling rapid electrification of the facilities while significantly reducing the upfront financial burden of transitioning to solar energy. 

SolarWorks! will electrify 92 rural healthcare facilities in Mozambique’s Sofala province. To ensure sustainability of the systems beyond the grant implementation period, SolarWorks! will cover operational and maintenance costs of the solar energy systems for five years.

Zuwa Energy will install solar energy solutions in nine health facilities in Malawi. Electricity access will enable the facilities to provide higher-quality health services throughout the day and more comprehensive services at night. Additionally, Zuwa will electrify staff housing with the aim to increase staff wellbeing and retention rates.

“Through these grants, USAID is investing in a set of pilot projects that demonstrate how healthcare electrification can be delivered in a commercially sustainable manner, with strong private sector involvement,” said David Stonehill, the Lead for Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid initiative.  “These grants demonstrate the Power Africa model in action:  We use a modest amount of public funding to de-risk transactions, thus opening the door for private investment.”

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Market Cap of Five Largest Hotel Chains Decline by $25.2bn Amid Coronavirus Crisis

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World`s Five Largest Hotel Chains Lost $25.2bn in Market Cap Amid Coronavirus Crisis

The coronavirus outbreak has affected every sector across the globe, but the hotel industry is among the hardest hit. Although hotels implemented increased safety and sanitation measures and cautiously reopened for the summer travel season, recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels could take years.

According to data presented by Stock Apps, the combined market capitalization of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Choice Hotels International, Marriott International, Intercontinental Hotels Group, and Hilton Worldwide Holdings, as the five largest hotel chains in the world, hit $79.2bn in September, a $25.2bn plunge since the beginning of 2020.

Marriot International Witnessed the Biggest Market Cap Drop in 2020

To curb the spread of the virus, countries across the world have imposed lockdown rules, leading to thousands of canceled vacations, and closed hotels between March and May. Although many of them lifted off travel restrictions in the last three months, the first two quarters of the year produced colossal revenue and market cap drops to the largest hotel chains globally.

The market cap of Wyndham Worldwide, the biggest hotel chain in the world by the number of hotels, stood at $5.89bn in December, revealed the Yahoo Finance data. By the end of March, this figure dropped to $2.93bn. Although the second and third quarter of 2020 brought a recovery, the combined value of stocks of the U.S. corporation, which owns 8,092 hotels, stood at over $5bn in September, an $870 million plunge since the beginning of the year.

The second-largest hotel chain globally, Choice Hotels International, lost $440 million in market capitalization amid the coronavirus crisis. In December 2019, the total value of stocks of the company that owns 7,118 properties amounted to $5.76bn. During the last nine months, this figure dropped to $5.32bn.

However, statistics indicate that Marriot International, the third-largest hotel chain with 5,974 hotels in more than 110 countries, witnessed the most significant drop in market capitalization since the beginning of the year. In December, the combined value of stocks of the Washington-based corporation stood at $49.51bn. By the end of the second quarter, it halved to $24.25bn. Although the company’s market cap recovered to $33.86bn in September, this figure still represents a 31% plunge since the beginning of 2020.

Intercontinental and Hilton Lost $8.3bn in Total Stock Value

Intercontinental Hotels Group ranked as the fourth largest hotel chain globally, with 5,070 hotels across nearly 100 countries. Statistics indicate the market capitalization of the British multinational hospitality company amounted to $12.3bn in December 2019. After falling to $6.2bn in March, it rose to $9.7bn in September, a 21% plunge amid the coronavirus crisis.

The total value of Hilton Worldwide Holdings stocks, the fifth-largest chain of hotels globally, dropped by $5.66bn since the beginning of 2020. In December, the market cap of the hotel group that generated around $9.45bn in revenue last year stood at $30.94bn. After a sharp drop caused by the Black Monday crash, it recovered to $25.28bn in September. Nevertheless, the figure represents an 18% fall since the beginning of the year. Statistics show two hotel groups lost $8.3bn in combined market capitalization amid the coronavirus crisis.

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