LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AM Best has upgraded the Financial Strength Rating to B (Fair) from B- (Fair) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating to “bb” from “bb-” of Nomad Life Insurance Company JSC (Nomad Life) (Kazakhstan). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) remains stable. Concurrently, AM Best has withdrawn the ratings as the company has requested to no longer participate in AM Best’s interactive rating process.
The ratings reflect Nomad Life’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorises as strong, as well as its strong operating performance, limited business profile and weak enterprise risk management.
The rating upgrades reflect AM Best’s expectation that Nomad Life’s risk-adjusted capitalisation will be maintained at the strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), supported by a more conservative dividend policy and a lower risk investment profile. Offsetting factors in the balance sheet strength assessment include the significant contribution to available capital in BCAR from the economic value embedded in life business, which can be volatile, and the potential for adverse reserve movements relating to the company’s workers’ compensation account (approximately 26% of the net premium written). Furthermore, the company’s asset base is exposed highly to the high financial system risk in Kazakhstan.
Nomad Life’s operating performance is strong, albeit volatile, as demonstrated by the return on equity ranging between 14.5% and 158.1% over the period 2014-2018. Overall earnings generally benefit from a high level of investment income, reflective of the high interest and inflation rate environment in Kazakhstan. Prospective performance is likely to remain volatile due to fluctuating levels of reserves and investment earnings, as well as uncertainty regarding the profitability of the company’s expanding life book.
Nomad Life has an established business profile in Kazakhstan, with a 27% share of the domestic life market, measured by 2018 gross written premium. AM Best expects strong growth over the next few years, driven by savings business and pension annuities following changes in pension regulation that are expected to increase demand for these products. An offsetting factor in the business profile assessment is the company’s exposure to sudden changes in the operating or regulatory environment, which are typical in Kazakhstan’s insurance market. In addition, a major line of business written is compulsory workers’ compensation business, which AM Best considers high risk as the company is still developing its expertise in this class of business.
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