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RAM Ratings Reaffirm Malaysian Reinsurance's AA2/stable/P1 IFS Ratings
Last update: 26/12/2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 (Bernama) -- RAM Ratings Services Bhd has reaffirmed Malaysian Reinsurance Bhd's AA2/Stable/P1 insurer financial strength (IFS) ratings and the AA3/Stable rating of its RM250 million Subordinated MTN Programme 2015-2030.

RAM Ratings said the reaffirmation reflected Malaysian Reinsurance's improved year-on-year financial performance, which saw the reinsurer recording a healthier pre-tax profit of RM100.4 million in 2017 versus RM7 million in 2016, on the back of narrower underwriting losses and higher investment income, as well as amid improved market conditions.

"The ratings also reflected its portfolio optimisation initiatives and an extension of voluntary cession (VC) arrangements until December 2019, which are expected to contribute to earnings stability over the intermediate term.

"Additionally, its reserves, liquidity and capitalisation position remain supportive of its ratings," it said in a statement today.

The ratings agency said in terms of claims, Malaysian Reinsurance's domestic business saw an improved loss rate on account of lower large and attritional losses, compared to the year before.

However, it said the company's overseas portfolio was more volatile and remained a drag to the company's underwriting performance.

"Although there were reduced catastrophic losses in financial year 2017, the reinforcement of reserves for prior-year claims had caused the segment's combined ratio to rise to 140 per cent during the period, compared to 132 per cent in financial year 2016," it said.

It said this resulted in an underwriting deficit of RM19 million in March 2017, down from RM87 million in the previous year.

"As the reinsurer optimises its portfolio, it is envisaged to return to underwriting surplus in financial year 2018," it said.

Nevertheless, the rating agency said Malaysian Reinsurance's liquid assets of RM1.4 billion as at end-March 2017 comfortably exceeded short-term liabilities of RM850 million as at the same date.

It added that the ratings might be upgraded if Malaysian Reinsurance demonstrates sustainable business diversity in domestic and international markets, leading to continuous improvements in its underwriting and financial performance, as well as capitalisation.