Press Release - AUGUST 09, 2019

AM Best Revises Outlooks to Negative for Gulf Insurance Group K.S.C.P. and Gulf Insurance and Reinsurance Co. K.S.C. (Closed)

 Salman Siddiqui, ACA
Director, Analytics
+44 20 7397 0331

Mahesh Mistry
Senior Director, Analytics
+44 20 7397 0325

Christopher Sharkey
Manager, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5159

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


LONDON - AUGUST 09, 2019
AM Best has revised the outlooks to negative from stable and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings of “a” of Gulf Insurance Group K.S.C.P. (GIG) and its subsidiary, Gulf Insurance and Reinsurance Company K.S.C. (Closed) (gig-Kuwait) (both domiciled in Kuwait).

The Credit Ratings (ratings) reflect GIG’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorises as very strong, as well as its strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

gig-Kuwait is a composite insurer with a leading position in Kuwait’s insurance market. The company is strategically important to GIG and strongly integrated into its operations.

The revision of the outlooks to negative reflects the worsening of the group’s consolidated balance sheet strength. Although risk-adjusted capitalisation remains at the strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), this and other balance sheet metrics have deteriorated in recent years, partially driven by accounting restatements that have reduced available capital, and an increase in capital requirements stemming from newly acquired subsidiaries and sizable medical contracts in Kuwait. Despite pressure on risk-adjusted capitalisation, GIG has continued to distribute dividends. GIG’s consolidated balance sheet also has been impacted by foreign exchange losses from subsidiaries operating different territories. The group possesses the tools and capabilities to manage its internal capital to support its operations; however, its response to certain issues has been slow.

The group’s liquidity position has required continuous support from short-term debt financing. However, GIG reduced its dependence on borrowings in 2019 through the use of a financial solutions transaction with its major reinsurer, which has alleviated some pressure on working capital. GIG’s balance sheet continues to benefit from a comprehensive reinsurance programme supported by well-rated counterparties.

GIG is amongst the largest and most diversified insurance groups in the Middle East and North Africa region, with market leading positions in Kuwait, Jordan and Bahrain, and a strong footprint in Egypt, Turkey and Algeria. The group has demonstrated a track record of strong operating performance, returning a five-year (2014-2018) average return on equity of 13%, despite extraordinary accounting adjustments deflating net profits in 2016 and 2017. GIG’s earnings are anchored by its technical account, which has generated a solid five-year (2014-2018) average combined ratio of 91%.

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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