AM Best Upgrades Credit Ratings of Hotai Insurance Co., Ltd.

20-Jan-2022 Intellasia | BusinessWire | 10:00 PM Print This Post

HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--#insurance--AM Best has upgraded the Financial Strength Rating to A (Excellent) from A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating to “a” (Excellent) from “a-” (Excellent) of Hotai Insurance Co., Ltd. (Hotai Insurance) (Taiwan). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) has been revised to stable from positive.


The ratings reflect Hotai Insurance’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 reflect the support that the company receives from its ultimate parent, Ho Tai Motor Co., Ltd. (Ho Tai Motor).

The rating upgrades reflect the revision of Hotai Insurance’s operating performance assessment from marginal to adequate. The company was acquired in early 2017 by its parent group, Ho Tai Motor, and managed to transform its business successfully, having turned around its underwriting performance to deliver stable underwriting profits since 2018 with lowered expense and combined ratios. Its investment performance also improved in recent years following a moderate increase in investment risk appetite. Hotai Insurance reported an improved return-on-equity (ROE) ratio over the past three years, with 2020 ROE recorded at 7.9%, which supported an adequate operating performance assessment. Going forward, AM Best expects that the company’s underwriting performance will continue to align with the industry average, while its bottom line will be highly dependent on its investment performance.

Hotai Insurance’s balance sheet strength is supported by its risk-adjusted capitalisation at the strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). Invested assets remain highly liquid, but the company moderately increased its investment allocation to higher risk assets in recent years, such as listed stocks and exchange traded funds, to enhance yields. An appropriate reinsurance programme has been arranged to protect its capital in tandem with its fast business expansion. Hotai Insurance exhibited a declining solvency ratio in line with its business plan, due to a rapid growth in underwriting leverage and increased asset risk. However, AM Best expects the company’s risk-adjusted capitalisation to remain supportive of its very strong balance sheet strength assessment, underpinned by the strengthened capital base through full retention of earnings over the past five years.

Motor insurance represents approximately 60% of Hotai Insurance’s underwriting book, which is higher than the industry average, as a result of its parent’s support. Ho Tai Motor has been the leading automotive distributor in Taiwan for the past two decades and leads its market competitors by a reasonable gap. Leveraging its long-established relationship with Toyota Motor Corporation, Ho Tai Motor is the key distributor of Toyota vehicles in Taiwan. Ho Tai Motor provides implicit support to Hotai Insurance in terms of its extensive car dealer network and high-quality motor insurance business. In addition, a letter of undertaking was issued by Hotai Insurance’s immediate parent as evidence of the group’s explicit capital support. Over the short to intermediate term, AM Best expects that Ho Tai Motor’s fundamentals will remain stable and its support rendered to Hotai Insurance will remain strong.

Hotai Insurance is well-positioned at the current rating level and positive rating actions are unlikely over the near term. Negative rating actions could occur if a faster-than-expected premium growth or higher-than-expected risk profile leads to a sharp decline in the company’s risk-adjusted capitalisation. Negative rating actions could also occur if there is a material deterioration in Ho Tai Motor’s credit profile, or if the level of support decreases significantly. Negative rating actions may arise if the company’s operating performance materially and adversely deviates from its business plan.

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

This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on AM Best’s website. For all rating information relating to the release and pertinent disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please see AM Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Guide to Best’s Credit Ratings. For information on the proper use of Best’s Credit Ratings, Best’s Preliminary Credit Assessments and AM Best press releases, please view Guide to Proper Use of Best’s Ratings & Assessments.

AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specialising in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright © 2022 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Contacts

June Wang
Financial Analyst
+852 2827 3416
[email protected]

James Chan
Associate Director
+852 2827 3418
[email protected]

Christopher Sharkey
Manager, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5159
[email protected]

Jim Peavy
Director, Communications
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5644
[email protected]

 

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