MEXICO CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent), the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a-” and the Mexico National Scale Rating of “aaa.MX” of Sofimex, Institucion de Garantias S.A. (Sofimex) (Mexico City, Mexico). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.
The ratings reflect Sofimex’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.
The ratings also reflect Sofimex’s strong operating performance in terms of profitability and competitiveness within Mexico’s surety bond market, as well as the strongest level of risk-adjusted capitalization, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio. These positive rating factors are limited by AM Best’s view of the highly competitive market in which the company operates.
Sofimex is a Mexico-domiciled surety and bond company that was established in 1940. The company offers surety and fidelity coverages ranging from low limit judicial bonds to high limit contract bonds. As of September 2019, Sofimex’s business portfolio was composed of administrative sureties (85.2%), credit (6.3%), judicial (4.4%) and fidelity (4.1%).
Sofimex projects a 7% gross written premium growth rate for 2020 while staying in line with its recent profitability metrics. AM Best believes that, as Mexico’s fourth largest surety writer, and with a good distribution network and disciplined underwriting, Sofimex has sufficient resources to maintain a stable stream of net income amid current market conditions.
Sofimex continued to post sound underwriting performance during 2018 and up to September 2019. In 2018, the company’s loss ratio decreased to 8% from 17%, offsetting a rise in acquisition costs due to the high level of concentration and strong competition in the surety market, accentuated by the entry of new participants. The company’s operating performance metrics show very low volatility and compare well with the industry. Retention remained stable at 72%. Overall, the company has been able to maintain a combined ratio below 70% over the last five years.
Sofimex’s risk-adjusted capitalization has remained at strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio, and supportive of its ratings, even when stressed by possible losses from contingent claims. Furthermore, Sofimex has a solid reinsurance program with highly rated reinsurers and long-term business relationships.
Positive rating actions could occur if the company is able to maintain an adequate level of acquisition costs and improve its level of claims loss payments, increase profitability and, as a consequence, further strengthen its capital base. Negative rating actions could occur if underwriting performance deteriorates, if there is a significant increase in business risk or net premium risk, or as a result of uncertainty with regard to the government’s spending in infrastructure, which could impact the growth of the surety sector.
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