Unimed gets ratings diagnosis
Christchurch-based Unimed, which operates mainly in the group health insurance business has been delivered its latest ratings update from AM Best.
Wednesday, July 4th 2012, 1:34PM
AM Best has affirmed the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and issuer credit rating of “a-” for UniMed and say the outlook for both ratings is stable.
The rating affirmations reflect UniMed’s excellent risk-adjusted capitalisation and solid investment results. The ratings also recognise the company’s initiatives to improve underwriting profitability through revising the pricing structures of its poorer performing products, the ratings agency says.
UniMed’s capitalisation on a risk-adjusted basis, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), demonstrates that the company is strongly capitalised. In addition, the premium leverage ratio is maintained at a conservative level of 0.63 times. Although recent business expansion led to an increase in premium risk, UniMed’s underwriting leverage in relation to its book of business remains prudent. "In AM Best’s opinion, UniMed will maintain its capitalisation at a strong level."
With approximately 88% of invested assets as domestic and currency-hedged fixed-interest investments, UniMed’s investment income is of high quality and deemed to be sustainable. It is expected that the company’s underwriting business will continue to be complemented by a solid stream of investment income.
Offsetting these positive rating factors are the challenging economic conditions and the increasingly competitive environment UniMed faces within the local health insurance industry in New Zealand.
AM Best also takes into account that while management is actively pursuing non-organic growth opportunities, there are potential acquisitions ahead that could put UniMed’s risk-adjusted capitalisation temporarily under pressure.
A significant deterioration in UniMed’s capitalisation could lead to a downgrading of its ratings. However, an improved stability in the company’s underwriting performance could result in an upgrading of its ratings.
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