AM Best Affirms Brit Reinsurance Credit Ratings

December 17, 2023 | 0 Comments

AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A [Excellent] and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a” [Excellent] of Brit Reinsurance [Bermuda] Limited [Brit Re] [Bermuda].

The ratings agency said, “AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A [Excellent] and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a” [Excellent] of Brit Reinsurance [Bermuda] Limited [Brit Re] [Bermuda]. The outlook of these Credit Ratings [ratings] is stable.

“The ratings reflect Brit Re’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 [ERM]. The ratings also benefit from the implicit and explicit support of its intermediate parent, Brit Limited [Brit], and its ultimate parent, Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited [Fairfax] [TSX: FFH].

“Brit Re, which is domiciled in Bermuda, acts primarily as an internal reinsurer for its affiliates, Lloyd’s Syndicate 2987 and Brit UW Limited. Brit Re also writes casualty treaty reinsurance, as well as fronts for its affiliate’s insurance-linked securities platform, Sussex Capital. The company continues to derive most of its premium from a quota share contract with Syndicate 2987.

“Brit Re’s very strong balance sheet strength is supported by historically profitable underwriting results and manageable premium growth, which continues to receive additional push from premium rate increases from underlying lines of business in the quota share contract. Liquidity measures are sound and supported by short-term, liquid holdings, predominantly high-quality fixed income securities and cash.

“While the company’s risk-adjusted capitalization is maintained consistently at the strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio [BCAR], the overall balance sheet assessment of very strong also considers Brit Re’s material catastrophe exposure stemming from its Syndicate 2987 business and the limited fungibility of its invested assets. A significant portion of Brit Re’s assets is pledged as collateral for a stop-loss contract written to provide Funds at Lloyd’s [FAL] for Brit. The very strong balance sheet assessment also reflects that capital growth is constrained by occasionally sizable dividend payments made by Brit Re to its intermediate parent within the Fairfax group.

“AM Best assesses Brit Re’s operating performance as adequate, largely based on the performance of its all-lines quota share on business written by Syndicate 2987, of which Brit Re assumes a 20% share of net premiums written. The syndicate has obtained successive rate improvements over the past few years; however, major catastrophe losses impacting its property [re]insurance portfolios have dampened results in the past. The variability of the results of the syndicate business has been offset by the profitability of the FAL stop-loss contract. Underwriting performance also benefits from Brit Re’s very low expense structure. Total investment returns have been variable over the past five years, with unrealized gains and losses impacting the company’s longer-term, value-oriented equity portfolio. In 2022, underwriting results were favorably helped by premium rate increases, the lack of shock losses and lower attritional losses from the whole account quota share with Syndicate 2987, partially offset by realized and unrealized losses from its fixed income portfolio. In the first nine months of 2023, Brit Re’s underwriting and investment results were profitable.

“AM Best assesses Brit Re’s business profile as limited given the company’s concentrated business production, and the company’s ERM practices as appropriate due to the governance structure in place.

“The company benefits from being part of Fairfax, which maintains favorable financial flexibility, a strong liquidity position and a track record of supporting its [re]insurance subsidiaries. Therefore, Fairfax provides rating enhancement to Brit Re based on the implicit and explicit support Brit Re receives from its intermediate parent, in the form of capital support, business distribution channels and overall operational integration.”

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