SINGAPORE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of B (Fair) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “bb+” (Fair) of Provident Insurance Corporation Limited (PICL) (New Zealand). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.
The ratings reflect PICL’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as adequate, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).
PICL’s balance sheet strength assessment reflects its risk-adjusted capitalisation, which was at the strong level as of fiscal year-end 2021, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). Despite elevated planned underwriting growth over the medium term, AM Best expects PICL’s risk-adjusted capitalisation to be maintained at least at an adequate level, supported by internal capital generation. Other balance sheet factors include the company’s conservative investment strategy and prudent reserving approach, with a notable buffer in held reserves above regulatory requirements.
AM Best views PICL’s operating performance as adequate. The company reported a five-year average return-on-equity ratio of 10.7% (fiscal years 2017-2021), albeit with heightened volatility over this period. Following weakened underwriting performance in fiscal 2020 due to worse-than-expected loss experience of the company’s core insurance products, PICL has executed several mitigating actions, including targeted premium rate adjustments and strengthening of underwriting controls. Following these actions, underwriting results improved in fiscal year 2021. In addition, given the lower usage of motor vehicles due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company saw reduced claims costs in its mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) and private motor vehicle (PMV) lines of business during fiscal year 2021. The combined effect of these factors resulted in a combined ratio of 92.7% for fiscal year 2021, compared with 105.8% in 2020.
AM Best views PICL’s business profile as limited. This reflects the company’s relatively modest scale of operations and limited geographical diversification, with all business emanating from New Zealand. PICL is a niche insurer that focuses on MBI and PMV products, largely distributed through motor dealerships and several distribution partners across its domestic market. PICL is exposed to a moderate level of pricing risk arising from its high premium growth and the underwriting of multi-year policies, largely in the MBI segment.
AM Best assesses PICL’s ERM as appropriate, given the size and the complexity of its operations. AM Best views the successful execution of the company’s underwriting growth plan to be a key risk exposure. This has been mitigated to date through investment in internal capabilities and infrastructure developments. Over the medium term, PICL’s risk management capabilities are expected to continue to develop in order to support increasing operational scale and widening product offerings.
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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