AM Best has upgraded the Financial Strength Rating to B++ (Good) from B+ (Good) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating to “bbb” (Good) from “bbb-” (Good) of Gulf Insurance Limited (Gulf) (Trinidad and Tobago). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) has been revised to stable from positive.
The ratings reflect Gulf’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its strong operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.
The rating upgrades reflect Gulf’s solid operating performance metrics over the past five years, which has been brought on by prudent underwriting standards and a conservative reinsurance structure to protect against catastrophe losses. Profitability metrics have been steady in recent years, as evidenced by an average combined ratio of 86.4% over the past five years and return measures that compare favorably with its Caribbean peers. While investment income has supported net income over the period, it is limited somewhat by the organization’s conservative investment portfolio. Thus, underwriting gains have been the primary driver of the consistently positive earnings and its ability to support capitalization.
Gulf’s balance sheet strength assessment is predicated on its maintenance of the strongest level of risk-adjusted capitalization, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). While absolute capital and surplus is relatively low, the organization’s consistent operating earnings have contributed to continued capital and surplus growth in recent years. Strong liquidity measures, a conservative investment portfolio composed mainly of fixed income securities and cash and cash equivalents, and a detailed reinsurance program to defend against catastrophe losses provide further support to the company’s balance sheet strength. Additionally, some degree of financial flexibility is provided by the support of Gulf’s ultimate parent, Assuria N.V., a leading financial services firm domiciled in Suriname. Despite a challenging macroeconomic environment in Suriname, Assuria N.V. has demonstrated the ability to grow, retain capital, and support its subsidiaries.
AM Best views Gulf’s business profile as limited. The company provides a range of insurance products in the British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, Curacao, the Eastern Caribbean and Trinidad and Tobago, including property, auto, accident, and marine coverage. However, the company is exposed to concentration risk geographically, where the majority of gross written premium (GWP) is derived from Trinidad and Tobago, and through its products, as its property and auto segments comprise nearly 80% of GWP. Also leading to the limited business profile assessment is elevated regulatory risk in the territories where Gulf operates.
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 Performance Assessments, 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 specializing 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 © 2023 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
+1 908 882 2433
Associate Director, Public Relations
+1 908 882 2310
+1 908 882 2245
Senior Public Relations Specialist
+1 908 882 2318