A.M. Best Rating for Dao Heng Affirmed

September 9, 2004

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) of Dao Heng Insurance Company Limited (DHI) (Hong Kong). The outlook is stable.

The rating reflects DHI’s prudent capitalization, short-tail risk exposure and good quality business reflected by its low loss ratio. A.M. Best views positively DHI’s remarkable investment return, which made a significant contribution to the net income of the company in the recent fiscal year.

The Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio, which measures capitalization on a risk-adjusted basis, demonstrated that the company maintained a solid capital position with a low net premium leverage ratio of 0.58 times in fiscal year 2003. The majority of business is derived mainly from the property damage and personal insurance lines, which generally have a short-tail business nature and low risk exposure.

In light of difficult operating conditions and intense competition in Hong Kong during recent years, DHI has been able to maintain profitability with a five-year average combined ratio of 78%. In fiscal year 2003, the overall loss ratio stood at 26%, whilst the loss ratio of property damage of 7% was superior to that of the industry.

Offsetting factors include a small market share and deteriorating underwriting margin. To remain competitive, DHI is expected to enhance its service offerings and to expand an effective mode of distribution.

Given the existing underwriting capacity, along with its limited presence in the fragmented general insurance market in Hong Kong, DHI’s growth prospects and ability to strengthen its business portfolio will be challenged. The company is tightening its underwriting controls and investment disciplines to achieve a higher operating margin.

The separation from the Dao Heng Bank Group will continue to have an impact on the company into the near future. DHI continues to focus its efforts on developing its in-house call center and to improve the effectiveness of this channel.

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