A.M. Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Insurance Company London-Almaty JSC

LONDON--()--A.M. Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of C++ (Marginal) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “b+” of Insurance Company London-Almaty JSC (London Almaty) (Kazakhstan). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.

The ratings reflect London Almaty’s balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorises as strong, as well as its marginal operating performance, very limited business profile and weak enterprise risk management (ERM).

The company’s balance sheet assessment is underpinned by its risk-adjusted capitalisation being at the strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). Although A.M. Best expects London Almaty’s risk-adjusted capitalisation to decline over the next three years as a result of underwriting growth and dividend payments, it is likely to remain at the strongest level. Offsetting factors for balance sheet strength include the company’s small capital base, which increases its sensitivity to shock events, and its significant dependence on reinsurance for underwriting large limit risks. Additionally, the company’s invested assets are exposed to the high financial system risk in Kazakhstan.

London Almaty’s operating performance has been largely profitable, albeit volatile and dependant on investment income. The company’s annual return on equity has varied between minus 2.4% and 34.0% over the past five years (2013-2017). Volatile operating results have been driven by fluctuating investment performance, reflecting changes in the fair value of the company’s invested assets, and from foreign exchange movements following the devaluation of the Kazakh Tenge. The company’s underwriting operations have been loss making in each of the past three years (2015-2017), driven principally by the company’s high expense base and lack of scale.

London Almaty is a small insurer and ranked 12th in the Kazakh non-life market based on 2017 gross written premiums. Despite ambitious plans to grow its underwriting portfolio, success has been mixed. Whilst gross written premiums grew by over 80% in 2016, surpassing KZT 6 billion, planned growth in 2017 did not materialise and the company’s premium base shrank by nearly 10%. In A.M. Best’s view, the high cost of attracting new business in Kazakhstan presents a material barrier to profitable growth over the near term. The company’s approach to risk management is focused principally on adhering to local regulatory guidelines and requirements. An undeveloped internal risk management framework and the company’s exposure to the heightened economic, political and financial system risks associated with operating in Kazakhstan remain offsetting factors in A.M. Best’s assessment of ERM.

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.

A.M. Best is the world’s oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright © 2018 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Contacts

A.M. Best
Myles Gould, +44 20 7397 0267
Senior Financial Analyst
myles.gould@ambest.com
or
Timothy Prince, +44 20 7397 0320
Director, Analytics
timothy.prince@ambest.com
or
Christopher Sharkey, +1 908-439-2200, ext. 5159
Manager, Public Relations
christopher.sharkey@ambest.com
or
Jim Peavy, +1 908-439-2200, ext. 5644
Director, Public Relations
james.peavy@ambest.com

Contacts

A.M. Best
Myles Gould, +44 20 7397 0267
Senior Financial Analyst
myles.gould@ambest.com
or
Timothy Prince, +44 20 7397 0320
Director, Analytics
timothy.prince@ambest.com
or
Christopher Sharkey, +1 908-439-2200, ext. 5159
Manager, Public Relations
christopher.sharkey@ambest.com
or
Jim Peavy, +1 908-439-2200, ext. 5644
Director, Public Relations
james.peavy@ambest.com