AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a” of ASSA Compañía de Seguros S.A. (ASSA) (Panama City, Panama). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) 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 ratings of ASSA reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as strongest, as well as its adequate operating performance, favorable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.
The ratings 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), sustained good underwriting quality and profitability, solid capital management, an adequate reinsurance program and a supporting risk management framework for its risk profile. Additionally, the company has been able to maintain adequate financial leverage by repaying most of the financing used in the 2018 transaction when ASSA acquired 100% of Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A.’s Panama branch.
ASSA is a Panama-based insurer established in 1980 and ranks as the largest insurance company in Panama in terms of premium market share. The company, which has a subsidiary in El Salvador, is diversified geographically in the Central American market and has a diversified portfolio of products, 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 throughout the region.
The company´s capital base has consistently grown through reinvestment of earnings despite intangibles of Generali’s acquired business that continue to be amortized. 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 2020, ASSA’s operating performance continued, characterized by a combined ratio below 100%. These results were supported by contained acquisition and management expenses, as well as reduced claims frequency in its auto, health and other property/casualty businesses, despite shocks in the group and individual life business lines, driven by the pandemic. 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 could take place if the company is able to sustain improvements in its operating performance. Negative rating actions could occur if the company’s available capital is not able to support its risks, either from capital outflows or from a greater risk appetite.
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