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Best’s News & Research Service - April 03, 2024 02:19 PM (EDT)

AM Best Upgrades Issuer Credit Rating of ASSA Compañía de Seguros S.A.

  • April 03, 2024 02:19 PM (EDT)
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//BestWire// - AM Best has upgraded the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) to “a+” (Excellent) from “a” (Excellent) and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) of ASSA Compañía de Seguros S.A. (ASSA) (Panama City, Panama). The outlook of the Long-Term ICR has been revised to stable from positive, while the outlook of the FSR is stable. ASSA is a subsidiary of ASSA Compañía Tenedora, S.A. and is owned ultimately by Grupo ASSA, S.A., a financial service holding company publicly traded on the Panama Stock Exchange.

The Credit Ratings (ratings) reflect ASSA’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as strongest, as well as its strong operating performance, favorable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).

The Long-Term ICR upgrade is based on ASSA’s sound operating performance, which AM Best expects to be sustained over the long term while growing its top line amid market developments and current economic uncertainty.   

The ratings also reflect ASSA’s balance sheet strength, which is underpinned by its risk-adjusted capitalization at the strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), sound underwriting quality and profitability, solid capital management, an adequate reinsurance program and an ERM framework that is supportive of its risk profile. Additionally, the company has no financial leverage as it fully repaid the financing used in the 2018 transaction to acquire Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A.’s (Generali) Panama branch.

ASSA is a Panama-based insurer established in 1980 and ranks as that country’s largest insurer in terms of market share, based on premium. The company, which has a subsidiary in El Salvador, is diversified geographically and has a diversified portfolio of products and investments, with net premiums written mainly composed of auto, individual and group life and health insurance. ASSA operates through a network of brokers, agents and direct distribution channels.

The company´s capital base has grown consistently through reinvestment of earnings despite intangibles of Generali’s acquired business that continue to be amortized and (un)realized capital losses that hit in 2022, as a result of increased interest rates by central banks worldwide in an attempt to tame inflation, but recovered in 2023 even though rates continue to be high. This was a result of increased interest rates by central banks worldwide in an attempt to tame inflation. A well-diversified reinsurance program placed among a high-quality panel of reinsurers has reinforced the company’s growth strategy, and consequently, counterparty credit risk exposures have been minimized.

In 2023, ASSA’s profitable underwriting results were sustained through a well-contained expense structure, as reflected by a combined ratio well below 100%, mainly driven by improvements in auto and operating expenses. This followed pressure in 2022 that was driven by a spike in auto and health claims in conjunction with intensive investments in technology and digitalization aimed at sustaining future growth and efficiencies. Furthermore, the company has already addressed deviations in its health book of business, which is expected to enhance overall results in the midterm. ASSA maintains a sound risk profile, and financial income continues to support its results; however, the company is not dependent on this revenue to achieve positive bottom-line results. ASSA constantly reviews its underwriting guidelines to improve the performance of business segments that are deviating from targets.

Positive rating actions, while highly unlikely, could take place if ASSA achieves material improvements in its ERM framework. Negative rating actions could result if operating performance deteriorates to levels no longer supportive of the current ratings. Additionally, negative rating actions could occur if the company’s available capital no longer supports its risks, either from capital outflows or from a greater risk appetite, or from a higher financial leverage or lower interest coverage metrics at the holding company.

The methodology used in determining these ratings is Best’s Credit Rating Methodology (Version Jan. 18, 2024), 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

Key insurance criteria reports utilized:

·         Available Capital and Insurance Holding Company Analysis (Version Jan. 18, 2024)

·         Catastrophe Analysis in AM Best Ratings (Version Feb. 08,2024)

·         Evaluating Country Risk (Version May 4, 2023)

·         Scoring and Assessing Innovation (Feb. 27, 2023)

·         Understanding Global BCAR (Version March 7, 2024)

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, relevant sources of information and the frequency for updating ratings, please refer to Guide to Best’s Credit Ratings.

·         Previous Rating Date: April 5, 2023

·         Initial Rating Date: Nov. 7, 2007

·         Date Range of Financial Data Used: Dec. 31, 2017-Dec. 31, 2023

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 rating(s) that have been published on AM Best's website. For additional 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.

If the ratings referred in this press release do not indicate a specific country suffix, it is understood that they are granted globally and not on a national scale.

AM Best does not validate or certify the information provided by the client in order to issue a credit rating.

While the information obtained from the material source(s) is believed to be reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed. AM Best does not audit the company’s financial records or statements, or otherwise independently verify the accuracy and reliability of the information; therefore, AM Best cannot attest as to the accuracy of the information provided.

AM Best’s credit ratings are independent and objective opinions, not statements of fact. AM Best is not an Investment Advisor, does not offer investment advice of any kind, nor does the company or its Ratings Analysts offer any form of structuring or financial advice. AM Best’s credit opinions are not recommendations to buy, sell or hold securities, or to make any other investment decisions. View our entire notice for complete details.

AM Best receives compensation for interactive rating services provided to organizations that it rates. AM Best may also receive compensation from rated entities for non-rating related services or products offered by AM Best. AM Best does not offer consulting or advisory services. AM Best keeps certain activities of its business units separate from each other to preserve the independence and objectivity of their respective activities. As a result, certain business units of AM Best may have information that is not available to other AM Best business units. AM Best has established policies and procedures to maintain the confidentiality of certain confidential (non-public) information received in connection with each analytical process. For more information regarding AM Best’s rating process, including handling of confidential (non-public) information, independence, and avoidance of conflicts of interest, please read the AM Best Code of Conduct. For information on the proper use of Best’s Credit Ratings, Best’s Performance Assessments, Best’s Preliminary Credit Assessments and AM Best press releases, please view Guide to Proper Use of Best’s Ratings & Assessments.

AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City. 

Mergers And Acquisitions Panama El Salvador Stock Insurers Financial Strength Press Release Best's Credit Rating Action Issuer Credit Rating

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