AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Austral Participa??es S.A. and Its Subsidiaries

BY Business Wire | CORPORATE | 05/15/24 06:24 PM EDT

MEXICO CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of ?a-? (Excellent) of Austral Resseguradora S.A. (Austral Re) and Austral Seguradora S.A. Concurrently, AM Best has affirmed the Long-Term ICR of ?bb+? (Fair) of Austral Participa??es S.A. (Austral). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable. All companies are domiciled in Brazil, and collectively are referred to as Austral.

The ratings reflect Austral?s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as strongest, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The stable outlooks are underpinned by AM Best?s expectation that Austral?s balance sheet strength assessment will remain at the strongest level, supported by internal capital generation and improved risk modeling. At year-end 2023, Austral continued to show a solid capital structure as shown in its risk-adjusted capitalization assessed at the strongest level, as measured by Best?s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), coupled with positive bottom line and technical results for each of its subsidiaries.

Additionally, Austral maintains a retrocession program with highly rated counterparties as it remains dependent on reinsurance to provide additional market capacity. AM Best expects that Brazil's double-digit interest rate environment will continue to increase the contribution of Austral?s investment income to its operating results, compared with recent years, potentially helping surplus growth. While a high interest rate environment generally can be viewed as positive, AM Best recognizes that the high market reference rates are a consequence of the inflationary environment; however, the higher rates also contributed to the easing of inflation-related pressures at year-end 2022 and 2023, and overall, did not affect the group?s performance.

AM Best views Austral?s business profile as neutral while recognizing the group?s successful efforts to create a more-diversified book of business and better geographic spread of risk over time. Austral continues to grow amid macroeconomic challenges while building its presence in the wider Latin America (re)insurance market, predominantly writing energy, surety and financial guarantee, commercial property/casualty, marine, aviation and transportation, life and liability (re)insurance lines of business for the large- and medium-sized commercial segment.

Partially offsetting these positive rating factors is Brazil?s highly competitive (re)insurance market as homegrown and global (re)insurers compete for market share. In addition, Austral must continue to weather the negative impact of catastrophic events that took place during 2023 such as Hurricane Otis. As of May 2024, the group expects to overcome the floods that took place in Rio Grande do Sul supported by its prudent retrocession program put in place with highly rated reinsures.

Negative rating actions could take place if risk-adjusted capitalization experiences adverse impact from recent portfolio changes. While positive rating actions are unforeseen in the short term, a positive impact on the ratings could take place in the medium term if the operating performance of the company continues to strengthen and reduce its volatility.

This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on AM 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 AM Best?s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Guide to Best?s Credit Ratings. 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. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright ? 2024 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Source: AM Best

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