JUNE 25, 2020 11:39 AM (EDT)

AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Kiwi Insurance Limited

 Sin Yee Chuah
Financial Analyst
+65 6303 5022

Alex Rafferty, ACA
Associate Director, Analytics
+44 20 7397 0312

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

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


SINGAPORE - JUNE 25, 2020 11:39 AM (EDT)
AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a-” of Kiwi Insurance Limited (Kiwi Insurance) (New Zealand). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.

The ratings reflect Kiwi Insurance’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorises as strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management. In addition, the ratings factor in a neutral impact from the company’s majority ownership by New Zealand Post Limited (NZ Post), which is a state-owned enterprise in New Zealand.

Kiwi Insurance’s balance sheet strength assessment is underpinned by its risk-adjusted capitalisation, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), which remains at the strongest level. This reflects the company’s moderate underwriting leverage and conservative investment allocation. The company has a liquid investment portfolio, focused on cash and term deposits. Since early 2020, the company has invested in high-quality fixed income securities to diversify its portfolio. Over the medium term, AM Best expects full earnings retention to support the company’s growth initiatives. A partially offsetting balance sheet factor is Kiwi Insurance’s modest absolute capital base, which increases the sensitivity of capital adequacy to shock events, as well as to changes in future performance and dividend payments.

AM Best considers Kiwi Insurance’s operating performance to be adequate. Despite a moderate level of volatility during the past five years, the company achieved an average return-on-equity ratio of 12% (fiscal-years 2015-2019). Overall earnings during this period reflect a combination of favourable underwriting performance, coupled with low single-digit but stable investment returns. AM Best expects Kiwi Insurance’s operating results for fiscal-year 2020 to weaken compared with the five-year average, driven mainly by higher net claims expenses incurred during the first half of the year. Prospectively, AM Best expects a robust pricing strategy, controlled expense management and steady revenue growth to support the maintenance of adequate operating performance over the medium term.

AM Best views Kiwi Insurance’s business profile as neutral. The company is a small-sized insurer in New Zealand’s life insurance industry, with a market share of less than 1%, based on 2019 gross written premiums. Despite this, AM Best views the company’s strong affiliated distribution channels as providing a competitive advantage. The company’s parent, NZ Post, and its sister company, Kiwibank Limited (Kiwibank), have extensive nationwide branch networks that support the distribution of Kiwi Insurance’s products. In addition, as part of the NZ Post group, Kiwi Insurance benefits from cross-selling opportunities, low acquisition costs and access to shared group resources. Despite challenging market conditions, the company’s in-force book has grown steadily over the past five years, supported by new product development. Prospectively, the company’s growth strategy is expected to benefit from increased distribution through digital channels and the launch of new products offerings. Kiwi Insurance’s top line may be challenged over the medium term due to policy cancellations and weaker sales as a result of the economic downturn related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the restructuring of Kiwibank and NZ Post’s physical branch network.

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 analytics provider specialising in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City.

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AMB# Company Name
092400 Kiwi Insurance Limited
059783 New Zealand Post Limited