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AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of South China Insurance Co., Ltd.

AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of "a" of South China Insurance Co., Ltd. (South China Insurance) (Taiwan). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.

The ratings reflect South China Insurance’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

AM Best expects South China Insurance’s risk-adjusted capitalization to remain robust and supportive of its risk profile over the short to intermediate term. The company’s capital and surplus has strengthened gradually over the past five years through earnings retention and the accumulation of special reserves. Other factors supporting the company’s balance sheet strength include its prudent investment strategy and reserving practice, as well as its comprehensive reinsurance arrangements.

South China Insurance has reported profitable underwriting results consistently over the past five years. The company’s combined ratio was among the lowest in Taiwan’s insurance industry in 2018, underpinned by its good control of operating expenses and favorable claims experience during the year, in particular in the motor and fire lines. Notwithstanding, AM Best expects the company’s underwriting profitability to be at a more subdued level in 2019 due to the continued intense market competition. In terms of investments, the company continued to benefit from a growing stream of investment income, supported by increased allocations to higher-yielding overseas fixed-income securities and domestic preference shares.

South China Insurance remains a mid-sized insurer in Taiwan’s non-life market and has continued to diversify its underwriting portfolio through a multi-channel distribution strategy. While overall premium income has experienced lower-than-average growth rates in recent years, relatively stronger momentum in the casualty and accident and health lines has lowered the company’s concentration in motor business.

Partially offsetting rating factors include the continued competitive domestic market and upward pressure on acquisition expenses.

Positive rating actions are unlikely over the near term. Negative rating actions may occur if there is a material decline in the company’s risk-adjusted capitalization, or if there is a continued deteriorating trend in its operating performance leading to diminished competitive edge over market average.

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 media use of Best’s Credit Ratings and AM Best press releases, please view Guide for Media - Proper Use of Best’s Credit Ratings and AM Best Rating Action Press Releases.

AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data provider specializing in the insurance industry. The company does business in more than 100 countries. Headquartered in Oldwick, NJ, AM Best has offices in cities around the world, including London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright © 2020 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Contacts

James Chan
Senior Financial Analyst
+852 2827 3418
james.chan@ambest.com

Christie Lee
Senior Director, Analytics
+852 2827 3413
christie.lee@ambest.com

Christopher Sharkey
Manager, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5159
christopher.sharkey@ambest.com

Jim Peavy
Director, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5644
james.peavy@ambest.com