OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A.M. Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of “a-” of Guardian Life of the Caribbean Limited (GLOC) and Guardian General Insurance Limited (GGIL). Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the Long-Term ICR of “bbb-” of Guardian Holdings Limited (GHL), a publicly traded holding company and the ultimate parent of GLOC and GGIL. The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable. GHL is listed on the Trinidad and Tobago stock exchange. All companies are domiciled in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
The ratings reflect GLOC and GGIL’s balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.
The affirmations of GLOC and GGIL’s ratings reflect GHL’s fairly stable leverage position, consolidated balance sheet strength and premium growth over the past several years. The consistent profitability of GLOC, which is GHL’s core life insurance subsidiary, enhances GHL’s overall balance sheet strength and debt servicing capabilities. Nevertheless, GHL’s exposure to the country risks associated with Jamaica, and to a lesser extent, Trinidad and Tobago, through its life and non-life operations, remains an area of concern.
The ratings of GLOC acknowledge its strategic position within the GHL group, strong competitive position in the Trinidad and Tobago markets, consistently positive operating results from its life and pension and health insurance lines, the strongest level of risk-adjusted capitalization as measured by A.M. Best, and its diversified business profile. Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are GLOC’s moderately increased insurance benefits and claims expenses, the impact of continuing volatility in the local, regional and global equity markets, and the competitive and mature nature of the Trinidad and Tobago insurance marketplace.
The ratings of GGIL acknowledge its strategic position within the GHL group, leading regional market presence, consistently profitable operating performance and the strongest level of risk-adjusted capitalization as measured by A.M. Best. Additionally, GGIL’s strong return metrics and underwriting performance compares favorably with its Caribbean property/casualty peers. Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are the highly competitive and challenging property/casualty market conditions throughout the Caribbean, the impact of continuing volatility in the local, regional and global equity markets, as well as GGIL’s exposure to catastrophe events and corresponding reliance on reinsurance to safeguard capital.
A.M. Best notes the ongoing activity regarding NCB Financial Group’s (Jamaica) offer to gain a controlling stake in GHL. Although this has no impact on the ratings of GHL and its subsidiaries at this time, A.M. Best will continue to monitor these activities closely in order to determine if the specifics of this potential change in control will warrant a rating action.
This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on A.M. Best’s website. For all rating information relating to the release and pertinent disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please see A.M. Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Understanding Best’s Credit Ratings. For information on the proper media use of Best’s Credit Ratings and A.M. Best press releases, please view Guide for Media - Proper Use of Best’s Credit Ratings and A.M. Best Rating Action Press Releases.
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