Press Release - MAY 30, 2019

AM Best Places Credit Ratings of Guardian Holdings Limited and Its Subsidiaries Under Review with Negative Implications

 Louis Silvers
Senior Financial Analyst–L/H
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5802

Alexander Sarfo
Senior Financial Analyst– P/C
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5779
Christopher Sharkey
Manager, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5159

Jim Peavy
Director, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5644


OLDWICK - MAY 30, 2019
AM Best has placed under review with negative implications the Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) of “a-” of Guardian Life of the Caribbean Limited (GLOC) and Guardian General Insurance Limited (GGIL). Concurrently, AM Best has placed under review with negative implications the Long-Term ICR of “bbb-” of Guardian Holdings Limited (GHL), a publicly traded holding company and the parent of GLOC and GGIL. GHL is listed on the Trinidad and Tobago stock exchange. All companies are domiciled in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

These Credit Rating (rating) actions come following the announcement that NCB Financial Group Limited (NCB) and its wholly owned subsidiary, NCB Global Holdings Limited, have acquired a majority of the outstanding shares in GHL following the granting of all necessary regulatory approvals. NCB, which through its subsidiaries represents the largest financial group in Jamaica, now owns 62% of the outstanding shares in GHL.

The under review status with negative implications reflects AM Best’s concerns over NCB’s exposure to the credit risk associated with Jamaican sovereign debt, particularly given that its Jamaican sovereign debt holdings are currently well in excess of its stockholder equity. AM Best notes that the sovereign ratings of Jamaica are substantially lower than the sovereign ratings of Trinidad and Tobago, and that the country of Jamaica has a relatively recent history of sovereign debt defaults. While GHL has limited direct exposure to the sovereign risks of Jamaica, there is the potential for GHL’s balance sheet strength to be indirectly affected by the relatively high exposure of it new parent company, NCB. AM Best will continue to monitor any interim developments, including changes in the amount of share of ownership and NCB’s strategic plans for GHL.

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 Understanding 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 rating agency and information provider with a unique focus on the insurance industry.

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