LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AM Best has revised the outlooks to negative from stable and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings of “a” of Qatar Insurance Company Q.S.P.C. (QIC) (Qatar) and its subsidiary, Qatar Reinsurance Company Limited (Qatar Re) (Bermuda).
The ratings reflect QIC’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorises as very strong, as well as its strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).
The revision of the outlooks to negative largely reflects pressure on AM Best’s current operating performance assessment of strong due to underperformance emanating from the group’s non-Middle East insurance operations (QIC Global). QIC Global has experienced considerable staff turnover and a fluctuating business strategy, at the same time as pursuing aggressive growth in a soft market. In addition, results have been adversely impacted in recent years (2017 to 2019) by natural catastrophe losses and Ogden rate adjustments in the U.K. motor segment. As a consequence, the group has produced a five-year (2014-2018) average combined ratio of 101.2% and AM Best’s expects the group to report a combined ratio in excess of 100% to be reported for 2019.
In addition, the group has a QAR 1.1 billion (USD 316 million) receivable due from the Markerstudy Group before May 2020. Whilst the group maintains sufficient capital to absorb a default on this loan, any impairment would represent a material loss to earnings.
The pressure on QIC’s underwriting earnings highlight governance and underwriting control deficiencies in the group’s decision-making process. Although there has been improvement in QIC’s ERM framework in recent years, progress has been slower than expected. Further development of the company’s ERM framework will be necessary to support the evolving complexity of its operations.
The company’s balance sheet strength is underpinned by risk-adjusted capitalisation at the strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), and benefits from the company’s large capital base of QAR 7.7 billion (USD 2.1 billion). QIC’s excellent financial flexibility has been highlighted by the its ability to successfully access capital markets in recent years. In AM Best’s opinion, these factors, in addition to strong internal capital generation and long-term capital support from shareholders, provide backing for QIC’s strategic initiatives, including those related to inorganic growth. The company’s investment risk profile has improved in recent years as a result of higher allocations to cash, deposits and liquid fixed income instruments. As at year-end 2018, these assets accounted for 77% of the investment portfolio.
During 2018, QIC reported gross written premium (GWP) of QAR 12.6 billion (USD 3.4 billion), an increase of 8% on prior year. Growth was driven primarily by the acquisition of the Markerstudy carriers, which offset material non-renewal of loss making contracts in the group’s reinsurance platform. More than 75% of GWP is derived from QIC Global, which benefits from a geographically diversified multi-platform approach, including a Lloyd’s platform (Antares), a Bermuda reinsurer (Qatar Re) and carriers for primary insurance in Europe. In addition, QIC has leading positions in the insurance markets of Qatar and United Arab Emirates. QIC’s business mix has been volatile in recent years, reflecting the group’s fluctuating risk and underwriting appetite. Going forward, the group plans to focus on low volatility lines, with more than half of GWP emanating from motor insurance in the U.K., Continental Europe and the Middle East.
This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on AM 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 AM Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Guide to Best’s Credit Ratings. For information on the proper media use of Best’s Credit Ratings and AM Best press releases, please view Guide for Media - Proper Use of Best’s Credit Ratings and AM Best Rating Action Press Releases.
AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data provider specializing in the insurance industry. The company does business in more than 100 countries. Headquartered in Oldwick, NJ, AM Best has offices in cities around the world, including London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.
Copyright © 2019 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.