|Olga Rubo, FRM|
Senior Financial Analyst
+52 55 1102 2720, ext. 134
Senior Director, Analytics
+52 55 1102 2720, ext. 107
Manager, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5159
Managing Director, Strategy & Communications
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5204
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEXICO CITY - SEPTEMBER 15, 2022 02:24 PM (EDT)
AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a” (Excellent) of Seguros Suramericana S.A. (Sura) (Panama). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.
The ratings reflect Sura’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as strongest, as well as its strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.
Sura’s balance sheet strength is supported by a well-structured reinsurance program and synergies provided by Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana S.A. (Grupo Sura), a leading Colombia-based financial services company in Latin America’s insurance, asset management and banking industries, as well as sound underwriting performance, initially driven by its previous integration with Seguros Banistmo, S.A. in 2015. Offsetting these positive rating factors is Panama’s highly competitive landscape, which could pressure Sura’s operating performance, as well as the company’s high dividend payout ratios.
As of May 2022, the company was the fifth-largest insurer in Panama, with a market share of 9%; 70% of its business portfolio is composed of non-life products, with life products making up the remaining 30%. Sura’s main property/casualty business segment is auto, which represents 35% of its gross written premium.
Grupo Sura’s initiative in 2018 to optimize shareholder value through the merger of intermediate insurance holding companies, Suramericana S.A. and Inversura Panamá Internacional S.A., drove a stock split transaction for its subsidiary, Aseguradora Suiza Salvadoreña, S.A. This further enhanced Sura’s risk-adjusted capitalization, which was already at the strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio. Sura’s capital base continues to be driven by its value-based management model and is reinforced through profitability, while meeting the group’s post-merger return on investment goals. AM Best expects Sura to follow consistent capital management guidelines supportive of its ratings. Additionally, the company’s balance sheet strength is supported by a comprehensive reinsurance program, set with reinsurers that have excellent security, as well as the implementation of an internal economic capital model.
During 2021, most of the company’s lines of business led to an overall growth of 9.2%, after presenting a contraction of 4.4% during the previous period due to the pandemic environment. The level of claims rose mainly due to the impact of Covid-19 cases, as well as increases in parts and labor costs affecting the auto segment. The company expects a decrease in its loss ratio for year-end 2022. Despite challenging conditions in the overall market, Sura maintained profitability, backed up by sound underwriting practices, reporting a return on equity of 4%. In addition, the company’s business profile continues to benefit in terms of added diversification and synergies, such as its bancassurance distribution channel.
Positive rating actions are not expected in the medium term. However, negative rating actions could occur if the company’s risk-adjusted capitalization deteriorates to a level no longer supportive of the current ratings as a result of deviations in the dividend policy or operating performance trends. Negative rating actions also could take place as a result of a sustained deterioration of the company’s operating performance metrics to levels no longer supportive of the strong assessment.
The methodology used in determining these ratings is Best’s Credit Rating Methodology (Version Nov. 13, 2020), which provides a comprehensive explanation of AM Best’s rating process and contains the different rating criteria employed in the rating process. Best’s Credit Rating Methodology can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology .
Key insurance criteria reports utilized:
View a general description of the policies and procedures used to determine credit ratings. For information on the meaning of ratings, structure, voting and the committee process for determining the ratings and monitoring activities, please refer to Guide to Best’s Credit Ratings.
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