AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a” (Excellent) of N.V. Univé Her (Univé Her) (Netherlands), a wholly owned subsidiary of Coöperatie Univé U.A. (Univé Group), a mutual insurance group domiciled in the Netherlands. The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.
The ratings reflect Univé Her’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 ratings also consider Univé Her’s strategic importance to and integration within the Univé Group (the group) as its reinsurance vehicle, with the company benefiting from rating enhancement as a result.
Univé Her’s balance sheet strength is underpinned by its risk-adjusted capitalisation, which remained at the strongest level as at year-end 2022, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). Given the company’s exposure to catastrophe losses, prospective risk-adjusted capitalisation is prone to volatility. An offsetting factor is the company’s dependence on retrocession to manage its natural catastrophe exposure; however, the risks associated with this dependence are partially offset by the high credit quality of the counterparties.
Univé Her’s underwriting results are solid, having generated a five-year (2018-2022) average combined ratio of 76.7%, and overall operating earnings are supplemented by modest investment returns reflective of the company’s conservative investment portfolio. In 2022, Univé Her reported a loss after tax of EUR 6.4 million (2021: EUR 3.9 million profit after tax), underpinned by a combined ratio of 125.5% due to elevated natural catastrophe events in the first quarter of the year. In addition, the company’s five-year average (2018-2022) return on equity is 2% (as calculated by AM Best). Given the nature of the catastrophe-exposed property reinsurance risks written, Univé Her’s technical performance is subject to periodic volatility.
Because of its distinctive role as the group’s main reinsurer, Univé Her benefits from its exclusive access to the reinsurance business ceded by the Univé mutuals and N.V. Univé Schade. Univé Her is predominantly a monoline reinsurer; the company retains the property excess of loss reinsurance risk ceded by the regional mutuals. All other product lines are retroceded to the external reinsurance market, with the exception of motor hull insurance, which has been partially included within Univé Her’s risk appetite since 2020. An offsetting factor to the business profile assessment is the company’s limited geographic diversification, with its portfolio concentrated exclusively within the Netherlands.
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