MEXICO CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A++ (Superior), the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) of “aa+” and the Mexico National Scale Rating of “aaa.MX” of Seguros Monterrey New York Life, S.A. de C.V. (SMNYL) (Mexico City, Mexico). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) remains stable.
The ratings reflect SMNYL’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).
The ratings also reflect SMNYL’s strong integration with its parent company, New York Life Insurance Company (New York Life) (FSR A++, Long-Term ICR “aaa”), strengthened risk-adjusted capitalization, robust ERM, positive trend in operating performance and highly competitive position in Mexico’s life insurance segment. Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are its challenging expansion strategy within Mexico’s very competitive market amidst slower economic conditions, and pressures on interest rates.
SMNYL is the Mexico subsidiary of New York Life and a product of the Seguros Monterrey acquisition in 2000. SMNYL, established in Mexico in 1940, mainly underwrites life products through a solid agent network. As of September 2019, SMNYL was Mexico’s eighth-largest insurer with a market share of 4.9%. The company’s product portfolio is composed of individual life (66%), individual medical expenses (21%), group medical expenses (9%) and group life (4%).
SMNYL benefits from its ultimate parent’s strong brand recognition. In addition, its integration within its group is key to the rating level, as New York Life actively supervises SMNYL’s strategy and operations, further enhancing its corporate governance and product innovation. Within New York Life’s international structure, the Mexico operation stands out as one of the most significant in terms of its good profitability and market presence, which makes the subsidiary’s operation and strategy very likely to be supported by the group if required.
During 2018 and 2019, the company continued to grow profitably below the life market in Mexico, as the company’s strategy has been driven by results and efficiencies in costs allowing it to sustain a healthy expansion of its capital position. AM Best expects SMNYL to maintain its trend in positive results, as the company adjusts its commercial efforts in conjunction with emerging opportunities in the individual life segment derived from income tax in traditional investment products. Due to the company’s robust ERM and corporate governance capabilities, AM Best believes that SMNYL has sufficient technical tools and market expertise to achieve an adequate balance between growth and profitability, as it has demonstrated adjustments to its investment policy that supports the company’s asset liability match and reduces its credit risk.
Risk-adjusted capitalization is categorized as strongest supported by the strong net income reported by the company; despite dividend payments in 2018 and 2019 that did not materially affect AM Best’s view of the company’s risk-adjusted capitalization. Looking forward, AM Best expects that SMNYL’s capital management capabilities will benefit base capital through a strong net income and non-material dividend payments. Due to the nature of the life business and its investment component, SMNYL is susceptible to changes in interest rates, which could suffer further cuts during 2020. However, adjustments to its investment portfolios are focused on maintaining liabilities and assets match within the group’s guidelines.
AM Best considers SMNYL to be well-positioned at its current rating levels. Future positive rating factors that could lead to an improvement in the company’s Long-Term ICR include the profitable implementation of the company’s expansion goals while maintaining its current balance sheet assessment. Negative rating actions could occur if the company’s risk-adjusted capitalization becomes affected either by large capital outflows or by weaker operating performance in the medium term due to large and sustained increases in operational and acquisition expenses or benefits paid derived from the expansion strategy. Furthermore, negative rating actions could result if AM Best’s view on the strategic importance of the Mexico subsidiary to its group decreases or if there are negative rating actions on New York Life.
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