SINGAPORE (May 3):  Great Eastern Holdings, a member of the OCBC Group, saw its earnings for 1Q19 more than double y-o-y to $342.7 million from $152.9 million due to higher non-operating profit and profit from shareholders’ fund.

The higher profit was due to higher valuation of the investments as a result of favourable financial market conditions, says Great Eastern in its filing on Friday.

Operating profit from the group’s Insurance Business for the quarter was $150 million, 8% lower than the same quarter last year.

Non-operating profit from the Insurance Business reversed into the black to $74.6 million this quarter as opposed to a loss of $8.7 million in 1Q18.

Profit from shareholders’ fund grew to $124.2 million from just $1 million in the previous year. As such, return on equity based on the average shareholders’ fund grew by 2.4 percentage points to 4.4% from 2% a year ago.

Over the quarter, a gain on sale of investments and changes in fair value of $2 billion was booked, as opposed to a loss of $0.7 billion in the previous year.

Non-controlling interest widened to $6.1 million from $2.3 million a year ago.

As such, total income grew 134% to $5.1 billion from $2.2 billion in 1Q18.

Total weighted new sales (TWNS) for the quarter grew 6% from a year ago with the group’s operations in Malaysia and Indonesia continued its growth momentum, driven by all distribution channels.

Great Eastern says its Agency sales remained resilient in SIngapore, while Bancassurance showed a slight slip.

The group’s new business embedded value (NBEV) was marginally lower for the quarter compared to 1Q19.

“Building digital affinity partnerships is an integral part of our digital transformation as we strive to enable customers to enjoy insurance solutions seamlessly and to provide broader value to the everyday lives of our customers,” says group CEO Khor Hock Seng.

“More lifestyle-related modular products will be launched in the coming months. This push forward is a firm step to elevate customer experience and reach new segments of customers to serve them conveniently and seamlessly,” he adds.

Shares in Great Eastern closed flat at $25.95 on Thursday.