Ratings Roundup: Int’l. General, Arab Credit, Tower, Asian Re

March 28, 2008

A.M. Best Co. has assigned a financial strength rating of ‘A-‘ (Excellent) and an issuer credit rating of “a-” to Bermuda’s International General Insurance Company Limited (IGI). Best has also assigned an issuer credit rating (ICR) of “bbb-” to Dubai-based International General Insurance Holdings Limited (IGIH) (Dubai). The outlook for all ratings is stable. “The ratings reflect the IGI’s excellent risk-adjusted capitalization, strong operating performance and continuously improving business profile with increasing international presence.” Best also indicated that it believes that IGI’s current and prospective risk-adjusted capitalization is “excellent and is expected to remain supportive of its annual projected business growth of 65 percent in 2009.”

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has assigned its long-term ‘AA-‘ counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings to Kuwait-based The Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (AIECGC) with a stable outlook is stable. “The ratings on AIECGC reflect its very strong capitalization, strong financial flexibility derived from its status as a supranational entity, and strong liquidity,” explained S&P credit analyst Kevin Willis. “A constraint on the rating is the undeveloped nature of the credit insurance markets in the region,” he added. AIECGC’s key objective is to promote the flow of Arab investments among member countries and Arab exports worldwide.

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of ‘A-‘ (Excellent) and the issuer credit rating of “a-” of New Zealand’s Tower Insurance Limited with a stable outlook. Best said the affirmation “reflects Tower Insurance’s improving operating performance and moderate risk-adjusted capitalization. The improving trend in Tower Insurance’s underwriting results suggests that turnaround strategies are finally yielding the desired results. Underwriting profits were NZD 9.4 million (USD 7.1 million) in fiscal year 2007 compared to NZD 7.1 million (USD 4.6 million) the previous year. The loss ratio in fiscal year 2007 improved to 63.8 percent from 65.6 percent in fiscal year 2006. Expense increases, which were offset by improving claims experience, together with strong investment earnings resulted in net income increasing by 58 percent during the year.”

A.M. Best Co. has assigned a financial strength rating of ‘B++’ (Good) and an issuer credit rating of “bbb” to Thailand’s Asian Reinsurance Corporation with a stable outlook on both. “The ratings reflect Asian Re’s strong capitalization, positive underwriting performance and unique organizational structure,” said Best “Asian Re is an intergovernmental organization that was established in May 1979 under the auspices of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP). Effective 9 July 2005, it opened its associate membership to non-ESCAP member countries of UN and private organizations. Asian Re successfully admitted seven associate members up to the end of December 2007 and raised additional capital of USD 32.7 million over the past two years. The company’s capital and surplus stood at USD 51.58 million as at year-end of 2007. A.M. Best believes that Asian Re’s current risk-adjusted capitalization level is adequate to support its business growth for the next three years.”

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