AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of B++ (Good) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “bbb” (Good) of Qatar General Insurance & Reinsurance Company QPSC (QGIRC) (Qatar). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is negative.
The ratings reflect QGIRC’s consolidated balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).
The negative outlooks reflect AM Best’s view of continued pressure on QGIRC’s ERM and operating performance assessments. Whilst QGIRC has taken remedial actions to strengthen internal controls, processes and governance, AM Best views the company’s risk management capabilities in certain key risk areas as non-aligned with its risk profile. In addition, material unrealised losses arising from QGIRC’s concentrated real estate investment portfolio have resulted in it reporting net losses in three of the last five years (2018-2022).
QGIRC’s balance sheet strength assessment is underpinned by risk-adjusted capitalisation at the very strong level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). AM Best projects the company’s prospective risk-adjusted capitalisation to remain at least at the very strong level, supported by internal capital generation. The balance sheet strength assessment benefits from QGIRC’s history of favourable reserve development. QGIRC’s balance sheet is highly concentrated, with just three real estate holdings accounting for over half of the company's investment portfolio, exposing it to significant capital volatility. Further offsetting balance sheet strength factors include QGIRC’s high reinsurance dependence and borrowings of a generally short duration, which expose the company to refinancing risk.
QGIRC’s earnings have been supported by a track record of adequate underwriting profitability, demonstrated by a five-year weighted average combined ratio of 99%. However, over the last six years (2017-2022), QGIRC has reported cumulative unrealised investment losses of QAR 2.3 billion, which have more than offset its profitable underwriting performance. AM Best expects prospective operating results to be supported by the company’s increased focus on selective underwriting, along with steady commission income.
QGIRC has implemented robust corrective actions since governance failures under the previous management team, which led to material retrospective write-offs recognised on QGIRC's real estate portfolio in 2019 and prior years. The ERM assessment considers the expectation that the new management team will continue to develop its risk management framework and risk culture. Furthermore, the assessment takes in to account the anticipated de-risking of the company’s balance sheet, through the sale of certain strategic real estate holdings.
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