JANUARY 09, 2020 09:37 AM (EST)

AM Best Upgrades Issuer Credit Rating of First Insurance Company

 Martina Seydoux
Financial Analyst
+44 20 7397 0308

Ghislain Le Cam, CFA, FRM
Director, Analytics
+44 20 7397 0268

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

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


LONDON - JANUARY 09, 2020 09:37 AM (EST)
AM Best has upgraded the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) to “bbb+” from “bbb” and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of B++ (Good) of First Insurance Company (Solidarity First Insurance Company or SFIC) (Jordan). The outlook of the Long-Term ICR has been revised to stable from positive, while the outlook of the FSR remains stable.

The Credit Ratings (ratings) reflect SFIC’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorises as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management. In addition, the ratings consider, in the form of lift, SFIC’s strategic importance to its parent company, Solidarity Group Holding BSC (c) (SGH), a leading provider of Islamic insurance solutions in Bahrain and Jordan. The Long-Term ICR upgrade reflects the improvement in the business profile of SGH, achieved through a stronger competitive position in Bahrain, following the integration of Al Ahlia Insurance Company B.S.C. (AAIC), acquired in 2016.

SFIC’s balance sheet strength is underpinned by its risk-adjusted capitalisation at the strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), its very good level of liquidity and the absence of borrowings. The balance sheet strength assessment also considers SFIC’s high dependence on reinsurance, and the elevated asset risk due to the concentration of its investments in Jordan and the Gulf Corporation Council.

SFIC has a track record of adequate operating performance, demonstrated by a five-year (2014-2018) weighted average return on equity of 7%, supported by stable underwriting and investment performance. Recent results have benefited from a three-year tax exemption following the acquisition of Yarmouk Insurance Company in 2015. Despite the issues associated with mandatory motor third-party liability (MTPL) business experienced across Jordan’s insurance market, the company has achieved a solid five-year (2014-2018) weighted average combined ratio of 93%, as calculated by AM Best. Headwinds for prospective profitability include the performance of the mandatory MTPL business, which SFIC will look to offset with the continued profitability in its comprehensive motor, medical and marine lines of business.

SFIC benefits from a good position in its domestic market, as the fourth-largest insurer, supported by a strong distribution network. Over recent years, the company has consistently grown at a faster pace than its market peers, with a five-year (2014-2018) compound average growth rate of approximately 14% (approximately 4% for the market) leading to gross written contributions of JOD 44 million in 2018. Nonetheless, the company’s business profile is constrained by its concentration in Jordan, which is a relatively small and very competitive insurance market.

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 Guide to 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 credit rating agency, news publisher and data provider specialising in the insurance industry. The company does business in more than 100 countries. Headquartered in Oldwick, NJ, AM Best has offices in cities around the world, including London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City.

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AMB# Company Name
091584 First Insurance Co
091321 Solidarity Group Holding BSC (c)