AM Best Withdraws Credit Ratings of Insurance Company London-Almaty JSC

LONDON--()--AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of C++ (Marginal) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “b+” of Insurance Company London-Almaty JSC (London-Almaty) (Kazakhstan). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) remains positive. Concurrently, AM Best has withdrawn the ratings as the company has requested to no longer participate in AM Best’s interactive rating process.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 London-Almaty’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorises as strong, as well as its marginal operating performance, very limited business profile and weak enterprise risk management.

The positive outlooks reflect the trend of improving technical results over the past two years. AM Best believes that going forward, the sustainability of this trend will depend largely on London-Almaty’s ability to reduce its high acquisition costs.

The company’s balance sheet assessment is underpinned by its risk-adjusted capitalisation that is expected to remain at the strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), despite the company’s onerous dividend policy and planned portfolio expansion. The company maintains a conservative investment portfolio by asset type and reinsurance protection backed predominantly by companies with sound financial strength. Offsetting these positive factors is the company’s small capital base (equivalent to approximately USD 20.3 million in 2019), which increases its sensitivity to shock events, and its exposure to the high financial system risk in Kazakhstan.

London-Almaty has been profitable in recent years, albeit with volatile earnings that have been dependent on investment income. Over the past two years, its technical performance improved, demonstrated by combined ratios of 90.8% and 94.9% in 2018 and 2019, respectively compared with a five-year weighted average combined ratio of 100.3% over 2015-2019. Nonetheless, high expenses continue to place a drag on performance, due to the company’s small scale and the relatively high cost of sourcing business in Kazakhstan, as evident by its five-year weighted average expense ratio of 69.1%.

London-Almaty is a low to mid-tier insurer that operates solely in its developing domestic market, where there is a high level of competition and regulatory risk. In 2019, the company’s share of Kazakhstan’s non-life market was 2.6%, as measured by gross written premiums (before premium cancellations). On a net premium basis, the company’s market share was 1.8%, as it cedes some of its largest contracts to the international market. London-Almaty is reliant on its ability to retain large commercial contracts in order to maintain its current scale (on a gross basis) and profile. The company is subject to a high concentration of risk, with its portfolio heavily skewed toward compulsory motor third-party liability business, which represented approximately half of its book, based on net written premiums in 2019.

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 analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright © 2020 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Contacts

Valeria Ermakova
Associate Director, Analytics
+44 20 7397 0269
valeria.ermakova@ambest.com

Catherine Thomas
Senior Director, Analytics
+44 20 7397 0281
catherine.thomas@ambest.com

Christopher Sharkey
Manager, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5159
christopher.sharkey@ambest.com

Jim Peavy
Director, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5644
james.peavy@ambest.com

Contacts

Valeria Ermakova
Associate Director, Analytics
+44 20 7397 0269
valeria.ermakova@ambest.com

Catherine Thomas
Senior Director, Analytics
+44 20 7397 0281
catherine.thomas@ambest.com

Christopher Sharkey
Manager, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5159
christopher.sharkey@ambest.com

Jim Peavy
Director, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5644
james.peavy@ambest.com