Press Release - JANUARY 10, 2020
AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Fidelity Life Assurance Company Limited
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SINGAPORE - JANUARY 10, 2020
The ratings reflect Fidelity Life’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.
Fidelity Life’s balance sheet strength is underpinned by its risk-adjusted capitalization, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), which AM Best expects to remain at the strongest level over the medium term. The company’s financial flexibility is viewed to have improved since 2018, following a capital injection of NZD 75 million (USD 51 million) by a new investor, New Zealand Superannuation Fund, to support future business growth. AM Best notes that while the capital injection strengthened the company’s local regulatory solvency position, Fidelity has experienced some volatility in capital adequacy over recent years. AM Best expects prospective regulatory solvency to remain robust over the medium term, albeit sensitive to new business growth initiatives. A partially offsetting balance sheet factor remains the company’s dependence on third-party reinsurance, with over 40% of gross written premiums (GWP) ceded to reinsurers in fiscal-year 2019.
Fidelity Life has a track record of adequate operating performance, evidenced by a five-year average return on equity ratio of 7% (fiscal-years 2015-2019). The company’s positive operating results have been driven by the favorable underwriting performance of its in-force life business, coupled with robust investment returns. Nonetheless, operating profitability remains sensitive to prevailing market conditions in New Zealand, which have pressured new business margins in recent periods. Prospectively, AM Best expects that controlled underwriting growth, a robust pricing strategy and a program of planned expense improvements to support the maintenance of adequate operating performance.
AM Best views Fidelity Life’s business profile as neutral, underpinned by its established position as one of the largest life insurers in New Zealand, with a domestic market share of approximately 11% based on 2019 in-force GWP. The company offers a range of life protection products, including term life, income protection and trauma cover. Fidelity Life’s core segments in the New Zealand life market remain highly competitive, and its business model continues to exhibit a reliance on the independent financial adviser channel for product distribution.
Ratings are communicated to rated entities prior to publication. Unless stated otherwise, the ratings were not amended subsequent to that communication.
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 specializing 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.