AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a-” (Excellent) of Dah Sing Insurance Company (1976) Limited (DSI) (Hong Kong). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.
The ratings reflect DSI’s 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. The ratings also reflect the parental support DSI receives from Dah Sing Financial Holdings Limited (DSFH) in terms of capital, brand recognition, business development, product distribution, risk management and operations.
DSI’s risk-adjusted capitalisation remained at the strongest level as of year-end 2022, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). DSI’s total capital and surplus decreased by 10% to HKD 1.96 billion during the year, mainly due to unrealised capital losses from equity investments measured at fair value through other comprehensive income. The company maintains a moderately high proportion yet well-diversified equity investment portfolio. AM Best expects DSI to implement robust investment selection and diversification strategies, as well as appropriate investment controls, to mitigate the high investment risk exposure.
The overall operating performance of DSI is mainly driven by its investment performance. While the company’s investment result was unfavourable amid more challenging capital market conditions in 2022, its five-year average investment performance and average return-on-equity ratio of 1.3% during 2018 to 2022 remained supportive of the adequate operating performance assessment.
As a small to medium-sized player in Hong Kong’s non-life insurance segment, DSI maintained a market share of approximately 1%, with gross premiums written (GPW) of HKD 760 million in 2022. The company’s four major lines of business are motor, employees’ compensation, pecuniary loss and property damage. DSI is re-balancing its underwriting portfolio by expanding property damage, all risks construction, and its accident and health businesses, while reducing its offshore inward reinsurance portfolio. A diversified panel of corporate intermediaries contributed a majority of the company’s GPW, followed inward reinsurance and banks.
Negative rating actions could occur if there is a material deterioration in DSI’s risk-adjusted capitalisation or its absolute size of capital and surplus, due to redemption of the preference shares without replacement with similar or more permanent capital, coupled with material investment losses or a significant increase in risk exposure. Negative rating actions also are possible if there is a sustained unfavourable trend in operating performance, due to large equity investment losses. In addition, if DSFH’s credit profile deteriorates materially or if DSFH reduces the level of support it provides to DSI, negative rating actions also may occur. Positive rating actions could arise if DSI demonstrates successful implementation of its business plan, which will enhance its competitive advantage of sourcing profitable business and market position.
Ratings are communicated to rated entities prior to publication. Unless stated otherwise, the ratings were not amended subsequent to that communication.
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