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Partners Life gets upgraded

AM Best has raised Partners Life’s financial strength rating following its acquisition by Dai-ichi Life Group.

Sunday, January 22nd 2023, 8:15AM

The ratings agency has given the life company an A (Excellent) rating.

The rating upgrade factors in rating enhancement from Dai-ichi Life Group and reflects A M Best’s opinion that Partners Life has an excellent ability to meet its ongoing insurance obligations.

Partners Life chief financial officer Stewart Taylor, “it’s been an exciting few months for Partners Life with the completion of the BNZ Life acquisition, the acquisition by Dai-ichi Life, and now the recognition by our rating agency of the underlying strength of our business and the benefit of having a specialist global life insurer as sole owner.”

“We look forward to taking advantage of new opportunities that ownership by Dai-ichi Life will bring.”

What AM Best said

AM Best says the ratings reflect Partners Life’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The rating upgrades factor in rating enhancement from Dai-ichi group following its acquisition of Partners Life.

This reflects integration with and ownership by the Dai-ichi group, one of Japan’s largest life insurers. In addition, AM Best expects Dai-ichi group to provide capital support to Partners Life in the event that the company is unable to maintain an appropriate level of capital adequacy.

While Partners Life accounts for a small component of Dai-ichi group’s overall revenues and earnings, the acquisition grows the group’s presence notably in New Zealand.

Partners Life’s balance sheet strength assessment is underpinned by its risk-adjusted capitalisation, which is expected to remain at the strongest level over the medium term, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). A partially offsetting balance sheet strength factor is the company’s reliance on third-party reinsurance for risk transfer and upfront commission financing.

The company has a track record of adequate operating performance, with a five-year average return-on-equity ratio of 7.3% (fiscal-years 2018-2022).

Notwithstanding this, reported operating earnings remain sensitive to discount rate movements in New Zealand, which have driven a reduction in underwriting profits in recent periods. Prospectively, controlled underwriting growth and robust pricing strategies are expected to help maintain the company’s adequate operating performance.

Partners Life’s business profile assessment reflects its prominent position in New Zealand’s life insurance industry, with a diversified product range including term life, disability income, trauma, total permanent disability and medical insurance.

The company’s market share has increased following its recent acquisition of BNZ Life Insurance Limited (BNZ Life). Partners Life distributes its insurance policies predominantly through a large network of independent financial advisers in New Zealand. However, as part of the BNZ Life acquisition, the company has also established an exclusive 10-year agreement for the referral of Bank of New Zealand customers with life insurance needs to Partners Life.

Tags: AM Best Partners Life

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