AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A- (Excellent), the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) of a-, and the Mexico National Scale Rating of aaa.MX of El guila, Compa±a de Seguros, S.A. de C.V. (El Aguila) (Mexico City, Mexico). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.
The ratings reflect El Aguilas balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as strong, as well as its marginal operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.
The ratings also reflect El Aguilas support from its parent company, Great American Insurance Company, which currently has an FSR of A+ (Superior) and a Long-Term ICR of aa-, each with a stable outlook, and improvements in El Aguilas underwriting quality. Offsetting these positive rating factors are the companys low levels of profitability and investment yield when compared with the average performance indicators in Mexicos insurance segment, and the companys relatively small size.
El Aguila was established in Mexico in 1994 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Great American Insurance Company. Since 2015, El Aguila has underwritten auto insurance exclusively, but introduced new property/casualty (P/C) lines in October 2016. The new P/C division targets small and medium size enterprises in the commercial segment through an independent network of local distribution partners. The product offering includes a combination of packaged and mono-line insurance coverages. As of December 2017, the P/C portfolio has grown in line with El Aguilas projections, which mitigated the administrative expenses generated by the new operation, and, jointly with a good technical result of the auto division, helped reduce the overall combined ratio marginally.
The company has benefited historically from its parent companys capital contributions in support of its growth and strategy. The most recent contribution was in November 2017 totaled MXN 57.6 million, which represented 35% of reported 2016 year-end capital and helped strengthen the companys risk-adjusted capitalization.
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Historically, El Aguila has struggled to report premium sufficiency given its high expense ratio, which is a consequence of maintaining a direct sales distribution and infrastructure in tandem with large marketing efforts. Distribution in Mexicos auto insurance segment typically occurs through agents, car agencies and more recently through bancassurance alliances. The companys combined ratio remained above the 100% threshold in 2017, mainly due to the costs involving the new P/C business model.
El Aguilas capitalization is strong, as measured by Bests Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), with underwriting risk standing as the main component for required capital. Support from El Aguilas parent company has been reflected in capital injections, whenever required to back-up its growth and improve its operations.
The companys profitability indicators historically have remained below the auto segments average, mainly as a result of higher acquisition expenses derived from its focus on developing its direct sales force. Conversely, this strategy has resulted in higher renewal rates than those registered by its main peers, and has partially mitigated pressure on underwriting in Mexicos highly competitive auto insurance segment. Given its small size, the company shows a greater geographic concentration than its peers, making it more vulnerable to soft market conditions in its main regional markets within Mexico. Fixed-rate bonds comprise an important part of the companys investment portfolio, which provide a financial yield below that of Mexicos P/C market because of valuation loss. This further limits El Aguilas profitability as it provides little buffer for deviations in technical results.
Positive rating actions could occur if El Aguila materially improves its underwriting results and the performance of its investment portfolio, while maintaining risk-adjusted capital at a level that supports the current ratings. Negative rating actions could occur if extreme premium growth or deteriorating underwriting results erode the companys capital base and reduce risk-adjusted capitalization to a level that no longer supports the ratings.
The methodology used in determining these ratings is Bests Credit Rating Methodology, which provides a comprehensive explanation of AM Bests rating process and contains the different rating criteria employed in the rating process. Bests Credit Rating Methodology can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.
Key insurance criteria reports utilized:
- Best’s Credit Rating Methodology (Version Oct. 13, 2017)
- Evaluating Country Risk (Version Oct. 13, 2017)
- Understanding Universal BCAR (Version May 14, 2018)
- Catastrophe Analysis in A.M. Best Ratings (Version Oct. 13, 2017)
- Available Capital & Holding Company Analysis (Version Oct. 13, 2017)
- A.M. Best’s Ratings On a National Scale (Version Oct. 13, 2017)
View a general description of the policies and procedures used to determine credit ratings. For information on the meaning of ratings, structure, voting and the committee process for determining the ratings and monitoring activities, please refer to Understanding Bests Credit Ratings.
- Previous Rating Date: Dec. 14, 2017
- Date of Financial Data Used: Dec. 31, 2017
This press release relates to rating(s) that have been published on AM Best’s website. For additional 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 Bests Recent Rating Activity web page.
AM Best does not validate or certify the information provided by the client in order to issue a credit rating.
While the information obtained from the material source(s) is believed to be reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed. AM Best does not audit the companys financial records or statements, or otherwise independently verify the accuracy and reliability of the information; therefore, AM Best cannot attest as to the accuracy of the information provided.
AM Bests credit ratings are independent and objective opinions, not statements of fact. AM Best is not an Investment Advisor, does not offer investment advice of any kind, nor does the company or its Ratings Analysts offer any form of structuring or financial advice. AM Bests credit opinions are not recommendations to buy, sell or hold securities, or to make any other investment decisions. View our entire notice for complete details.
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