AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a-” (Excellent) of Bank of China Group Insurance Company Limited (BOCG Insurance) (Hong Kong). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.
The ratings reflect BOCG Insurance’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.
The strong balance sheet strength assessment of BOCG Insurance is underpinned by its risk-adjusted capitalisation being at the strongest level as of year-end 2022, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). The company’s capital and surplus was negatively impacted by the unfavourable investment market conditions in 2022, but is expected to recover with positive operating results in the first half of 2023. The company maintains adequate liquidity to fulfill its insurance liabilities, albeit around half of its invested assets are allocated to interests in associated companies. The remainder of the company’s investment portfolio mainly consists of liquid investments, including investment grade bonds, and cash and deposits.
BOCG Insurance’s operating performance is assessed at the adequate level. The company achieved a high single-digit return-on-equity (ROE) ratio between 2018 and 2022. Positive operating results were driven by solid net investment returns, primarily supported by the company’s share of profits from its interests in associated companies, as well as interest and dividends from its fixed-income investments and cash and deposit assets.
BOCG Insurance posted two consecutive years of underwriting profit in 2021 and 2022, partially attributed to the lower loss ratio in the general liability line, which was driven by favourable reserve development over the past few years.
BOCG Insurance ranked 10th in terms of Hong Kong onshore non-life gross premiums written (GPW), with a 2.9% market share in 2022. The company’s underwriting portfolio remains diversified into four main business lines, namely accident and health, property damage, general liability and motor, which account for the majority of the company’s GPW. In addition to BOCG Insurance’s continued efforts to improve the business quality of its inward treaty, the company also focuses on increasing direct business. AM Best expects BOCG Insurance to continue leveraging the branch network of its banking parent, BOC Group, to tap the vast customer base and achieve profitable growth.
Negative rating actions could occur if BOCG Insurance experiences a material deterioration in its risk-adjusted capitalisation. Negative rating actions could also occur if there is material deterioration in the company’s operating profitability; for instance, due to investment returns that are more than offset by sustained and unfavourable underwriting loss experience. Although it is not likely in the short term, positive rating actions could occur if the company demonstrates a sustained improvement and better-than-average underwriting and operating profitability.
Ratings are communicated to rated entities prior to publication. Unless stated otherwise, the ratings were not amended subsequent to that communication.
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