HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A.M. Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a” of Blue Cross (Asia-Pacific) Insurance Limited (Blue Cross) (Hong Kong). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.
The ratings reflect Blue Cross’ balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.
Blue Cross’ risk-adjusted capitalization remains solid, partially attributed to its diversified investment portfolio with strong liquidity, and the gradual release of risk capital in tandem with the runoff of the life business, despite organic capital growth from earnings that is offset by the high dividend payout ratio.
The company continues to focus on underwriting risk selection to strengthen its non-life portfolio, which has demonstrated a consistently profitable and improving trend in underwriting results, partially attributed to the stable and lower-than-peers expense ratio. The favorable trend in return on equity also is supported by a track record of stable interest income and the buoyant capital market condition in 2017.
Blue Cross remains as a mid-sized insurer in Hong Kong’s highly competitive non-life market. Approximately 90% of its gross premiums written was sourced from the accident and health line through a diversified distribution network.
Offsetting rating factors include the challenging operating environment, in particular for group medical insurance, due to market competition and medical inflation. In addition, Blue Cross’ capital and surplus is subject to some volatility arising from movements in fair value reserves on available-for-sale assets.
Positive rating actions for Blue Cross are unlikely in the near term. Negative rating actions could occur if there is a deteriorating trend in the company’s operating profitability or a significant decline in the company’s risk-adjusted capitalization.
Ratings are communicated to rated entities prior to publication. Unless stated otherwise, the ratings were not amended subsequent to that communication.
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