Market conditions pressuring Genworth as premiums slide 20%

Mortgage insurer Genworth has conceded that tightened lending conditions and a lower LVR mix are impacting the group’s gross written premiums.

In its third-quarter trading update Genworth recorded a 20.8 per cent fall in gross written premiums (GWP) from the third quarter of 2014 to the third quarter this year.

The LMI insurer reported an underlying net profit after tax of $58.7 million for the quarter ended 30 September 2015, down 16.4 per cent from the corresponding quarter last year.

New business volume, as measured by new insurance written (NIW) of $8.5 billion in the third quarter, decreased 13.3 per cent compared with the previous corresponding period.

Year-to-date NIW of $26.2 billion was down three per cent on the prior corresponding period.

“The business performed in line with our expectations in the third quarter and we are on track to achieve our full year 2015 guidance,” Genworth’s acting chief executive Georgette Nicholas said.

“Our financial results demonstrate our resilience and strength in the face of a dynamic economy and mortgage market.

“The group continues to actively manage its capital position to ensure an efficient capital structure and delivered improved returns to shareholders,” she said.

In a research note this week, Morningstar analyst Nathan Zaia said Genworth is highly leveraged to economic conditions and recent events point to further elevated earnings uncertainty. 

"The end of Genworth's contract with Westpac increased its reliance on CBA and NAB, and the tighter lending standards imposed on the banks by the prudential regulator results in fewer loans with an LVR above 80 per cent, which is a negative for LMI volumes," he said.

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