Exterior view of the new global headquarters of Discovery in Sandton. Photo: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - Discovery on Tuesday reported a strong performance over the six months ended 31 December 2017 with a 19 percent increase in normalized operating profit to R4.059 billion.

This performance exceeded the group's expectations and surpassed its growth methodology target, enabling it to track strongly towards its stated Ambition 2018 'to be the best insurer in the world'.

The criteria for 'Ambition 2018' includes specific targets in financial performance and management, brand and data capabilities, and objectives for each of the businesses.

Normalized headline earnings increased by 30 percent to R2,829 billion. The group also reported growth in embedded value of 13 percent on an annualised basis to R60.4 billion. 

An important element of Discovery's operating model is its cash management approach. Generating R6.1 billion in cash before tax, the group invested R3.8 billion of earnings in new business and R1.1 billion in new initiatives after all payments. 

The investment in new initiatives includes investing in Discovery Bank, Umbrella Funds, Vitality Invest, and Discovery Insure Commercial Insurance, as it focused on growing internationally and extending the Shared-Value Insurance model locally.

Discovery chief executive Adrian Gore said substantive progress has been made against the Ambition 2018 criteria, adding that Ambition 2018 had created an impetus for execution, resulting in outstanding financial outcomes and scale, and accelerating development of a pipeline for future growth.

"Every area of the business delivered positively over the period. Our Shared-Value Insurance model, our growth methodology and capital management are all working in tandem, and our prospects for future growth are extremely compelling," Gore said.

"There is evidence across the Group of exceptional engagement in Vitality and behaviour change, giving me confidence that we are achieving what we set out to do – offer people products and services that make them healthier, while we create a sustainable organisation that adds value to clients and society."

 - African News Agency (ANA)