Ireland’s second largest health insurer Laya Healthcare, which recently announced a 5 per cent rise in premiums, recorded a sharp hike in pretax profits in 2015 as turnover neared €60 million.
Operating in Ireland since 1997, Laya, which was acquired by insurance giant AIG for an undisclosed sum in April 2015, has more than 560,000 customers and serves 26 per cent of the Irish private health market.
Newly filed accounts for the Cork-headquartered insurer shows it recorded a €15.7 million profit before tax for the 12 months ending December 2015, up by over 22 per cent compared to €12.8 million a year earlier.
Turnover rose by more than 15 per cent to €59.2 million from €51.2 million as operating profits increased from €13 million to €16 million.
“This is our fourth year reporting strong profitability and we’re proud of our sustained growth in a period marked by major challenges in the private medical insurance market,” said managing director Donal Clancy.
“We remain committed to growing our business into the future by continuing to offer our members the best value and innovative products and unique benefits,” he added.
In 2014, pretax profits for the group more than doubled from €5.25 million as revenues jumped from €39.3 million.
Increase in claims
First established as Bupa Ireland, Laya was launched in May 2012 following a management buyout of Quinn Healthcare.
In recent years, the company has expanded its product offering to include life insurance, travel insurance and health and wellbeing programmes.
The accounts show headcount at Laya increased to 509 from 468 during 2015 with the vast majority of employes working in operations and sales.
Staff costs rose to €26.2 million from €24.9 million in the previous year. Directors’ salaries declined from €1.74 million to €1.25 million with associated fees falling from €123,750 to €63,750.
Administrative expenses increased from €38.3 million to €43.2 million.
The company did not pay a dividend during 2015 or the prior year. In 2015, the company advanced €3.6 million to its former parent Avodhu Limited.
In November, Laya announced plans to increase the cost of 49 premiums with the average increase across affected plans coming in at 5 per cent.
It blamed an “unsustainable increase in the cost and volume of claims in public and private hospitals” as well as what it said was “a significant increase in consultant costs”.