MEXICO CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of B++ (Good) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings of “bbb+” (Good) of The Hand-in-Hand Mutual Fire Insurance Company Limited (HIHF) (Guyana) and the Hand-in-Hand Mutual Life Assurance Company Limited (HIHL). Both entities are referred to as Hand-in-Hand Group. The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.
The ratings of Hand-in-Hand Group reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).
HIHF is the oldest insurance company in Guyana, established in 1865, and is the second-largest carrier in the country’s insurance industry. The company writes property/casualty lines of business with a market share of approximately 9.8%, based on premiums. As of December 2022, its business portfolio was composed mainly of fire and motor coverages, although it also operates heavily in the accidents and liability market. The company has taken a cautious approach to the recent economic growth in the country, by selecting its risks driven by profitability and proper reinsurance support.
HIHL was incorporated in 1966, and as a mutual company, it is owned by policyholders with a small amount of preferred shares issued to HIHF. The company is engaged predominantly in underwriting group health and life insurance, with a significant portfolio of ordinary life and annuities. Its market share is estimated at 21.0% of premiums. Overall, the Guyana insurance market experienced premium growth of 29.4% in 2022 to USD 95 million.
Hand-in-Hand Group’s balance sheet strength assessment of very strong reflects each member’s stable capital base, with responsible asset-liability management and proper reinsurance coverage. Investment risk is an important component of the required capital, due to the limited available securities in the market in which both companies operate. As mutual companies, the quality of the capital is very good because of their stability and main outflows come from their triennial profit-sharing with entitled policyholders.
Operating performance at Hand-in-Hand Group is considered adequate with manageable loss and benefits paid ratios; nevertheless, the group has seen some volatility in premium growth and reported bottom-line results, with positive results for 2023, albeit lower than in 2022 in HIHF as investments valuations have leveled out after a year of strong appreciations in 2022. Hand-in-Hand Group shares policies and procedures and performs stress tests as part of its ERM and is continuously strengthening its risk management capabilities.
The stable outlooks for Hand-in-Hand Group reflects AM Best’s expectation that the group will continue to perform within the adequate assessment of operating performance in terms of underwriting quality and profitability.
Positive rating actions for HIHF and HIHL could take place if the companies continue their positive trend in risk-adjusted capitalization, while building up their capital bases in a consistent manner. Conversely, negative rating actions for HIHF and HIHL could occur if there is a significant decline in the companies’ capital bases or if operating performance experiences deterioration over time from sustained underwriting or net losses.
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