News Column

A.M. Best Assigns Ratings to Starr Property & Casualty Insurance (China) Company, Limited

July 16, 2014



HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- A.M. Besthas assigned the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and issuer credit rating of “a-” to Starr Property & Casualty Insurance (China) Company, Limited (Starr China) (China), formerly known as Dazhong Insurance Company Limited. The name change is pending completion of the local process. The outlook assigned to both ratings is stable.

The ratings reflect Starr China’s adequate level of risk-adjusted capitalization and a prudently managed investment portfolio. The ratings also benefit from the business and operational support of Starr International Company, Inc. (SICO) and its insurance subsidiaries, and the capital commitment from Starr Insurance & Reinsurance Limited (SIRL), one of the affiliated companies withinSICO, which is a 20% shareholder of Starr China.

Since SIRL took over management control in 2011, Starr China has actively reduced its equity exposure and restructured its investment portfolio with a stronger emphasis on deposits and quality fixed income investments. In 2014, Starr Indemnity & Liability Company, another affiliated company within SICO, has been progressively acquiring shares in Starr China, which when completed will increase SICO’s aggregate holdings through its subsidiary companies to 92.42% from 20.0% in 2011. A new management team was appointed to Starr China in 2014 to revamp its commercial product mix and distribution strategy with the support of SICO and its insurance company subsidiaries. The new management will centralize the decision-making function at Starr China’s headquarters to streamline the company’s managerial and operational structures. Additionally, claims services and distribution network will be restructured to improve cost efficiency. These measures are expected to deepen the degree of managerial integration with SICO and its insurance company subsidiaries in the long run. SIRL has also provided various reinsurance supports, including a stop-loss arrangement, to help stabilize the company’s profitability metrics going forward.

Partially offsetting these factors include Starr China’s historical volatile and unfavorable underwriting performance, and the challenges the company faces in executing its business plan. The acceptance of the company’s new commercial lines products and the effectiveness of the new distribution model remain to be tested in China’s increasingly competitive non-life market.

Positive rating movement could occur if Starr China can demonstrate a sustainable improvement in underwriting performance and the quality of business, coupled with an enhanced market position and capitalization. Negative rating movement could result from a material adverse deviation from the company’s business plan, a significant decline in the risk-adjusted capitalization or a reduced level of support provided by SIRL or SICO.

The methodology used in determining these interactive ratings is Best’s Credit Rating Methodology, which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best’s rating process and contains the different rating criteria employed in the rating process. Best’s Credit Rating Methodology can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.

Ratings are communicated to rated entities prior to publication, and unless stated otherwise, the ratings were not amended subsequent to that communication.

This rating announcement has been issued by A.M. Best Asia-Pacific Limited, which is a subsidiary of A.M. Best Company. A.M. Best Company is the world's oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright © 2014 by A.M. Best Company, Inc.ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.





A.M. Best Company, Inc.

Vivian Cheung

Senior Financial Analyst

+852-2827-3411

vivian.cheung@ambest.com

or

Moungmo Lee

General Manager, Analytics

+852-2827-3402

moungmo.lee@ambest.com

or

Chris Sharkey

Manager, Public Relations

+(1) 908 439 2200, ext. 5159

christopher.sharkey@ambest.com

or

Jim Peavy

Assistant Vice President, Public Relations

+(1) 908 439 2200, ext. 5644

james.peavy@ambest.com



Source: A.M. Best Company, Inc.


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