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A.M. Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Labuan Reinsurance (L) Ltd


AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) of “a-” of Labuan Reinsurance (L) Ltd (Labuan Re) (Malaysia). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is negative.

The ratings reflect Labuan Re’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorises as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).

Labuan Re’s balance sheet strength assessment is underpinned by its risk-adjusted capitalisation that is expected to remain at the strongest level over the medium term, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). Positive balance sheet factors include the company’s typically conservative investment portfolio, with a focus on good quality fixed-income securities. Partially offsetting balance sheet factors include Labuan Re’s modest-sized absolute capital base and limited internal capital generation over recent years. In addition, the company remains exposed to natural catastrophe risks emanating from its regional reinsurance operations and through its participation in several Lloyd’s of London syndicates with international exposure, albeit Labuan Re has sought to actively reduce its peak peril exposures over the past few years.

AM Best views Labuan Re’s operating performance as adequate, albeit the continued negative outlook for the FSR and Long-Term ICR reflects pressure on this assessment. Over recent years, the company’s underwriting performance has been impacted adversely by a series of global catastrophe events and from an increased frequency of large losses on its domestic property portfolio. The company’s combined ratio was 109.3% in 2019, with a five-year average of 106.4% (2015-2019). During the first nine months of 2020, Labuan Re continued to report an underwriting loss driven by a combination of catastrophe losses and provisioning related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Investment operations over a number of years have aided to offset technical losses partially, with a five-year average net investment yield of over 2% (2015-2019). Prospectively, AM Best expects Labuan Re to continue to execute remedial actions, which are aimed at enabling technical and operating profitability over the near term. AM Best does, however, continue to note that challenges remain in executing on this business plan given a persisting competitive operating environment.

AM Best assesses Labuan Re’s business profile as neutral given its positon as a well-established regional non-life reinsurer. In addition, the company’s business profile continues to benefit from portfolio diversification emanating from its participation as a corporate member in several Lloyd’s of London syndicates. Over the medium term, AM Best expects the company to exhibit a declining trend in gross written premium, as it continues to embark on a voluntary retrenchment of unprofitable business and scale back its participation in Lloyd’s of London syndicates.

AM Best views the company’s ERM approach as appropriate given the current size and complexity of its operations. Labuan Re continues to develop its technical pricing and risk selection capabilities as part of its remedial actions aimed at improving its prospective underwriting performance.

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 A.M. 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 A.M. Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Understanding Best’s Credit Ratings. For information on the proper media use of Best’s Credit Ratings and A.M. Best press releases, please view Guide for Media – Proper Use of Best’s Credit Ratings and A.M. 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.