AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of "a-" (Excellent) of La Colonial, S.A. - Compania de Seguros (La Colonial) (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.
The ratings reflect La Colonial's balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as strongest, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.
The rating affirmations reflect La Colonial's risk-adjusted capitalization being at the strongest level, as measured by Best's Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), mainly as a result of positive bottom-line results, as well as the acknowledgement of the underwriting team's skills amid potential challenges from harsher competition. Partially offsetting these positive rating factors is the competitive market environment in the Dominican Republic.
La Colonial is the fifth-largest insurance company in the Dominican Republic, with an 8.3% market share as of December 2022. The company has maintained its leading position in the Dominican Republic despite changing market dynamics, which includes the continuous inflow of new health insurance premiums to the system from new participants. La Colonial operates as a multiline insurer, with 81% of its portfolio directed to property/casualty lines, based on gross written premium, with life/health insurance comprising 19%.
In 2022, the company reported a non-life combined ratio of 101.6%, mainly driven by a higher loss ratio, despite expense efficiencies achieved in previous periods. La Colonial's benefits paid to net premium written ratio for its life business decreased to 56.4% from 78.4%, contributing to the positive bottom-line result of DOP 412 million. For 2023 and onward, operating efficiencies might be harder to sustain; however, AM Best considers La Colonial's management team to be well-prepared to maintain solid profitability and growth to support its operation.
La Colonial's risk-adjusted capitalization remains at the strongest level, as measured by BCAR, supported adequately by a comprehensive reinsurance program that mitigates the potential impact from regional natural disasters on the company's results. These characteristics are reflected in its solvency and capitalization metrics and its excellent market position. Going forward, AM Best expects the company to continue performing with premium sufficiency, driven by lower technical costs in the medium term.
Positive rating actions could take place if La Colonial is able to maintain its current level of risk-adjusted capitalization while improving its bottom-line results and profitability indicators to levels more in line with highly rated peers. Factors that might lead to negative rating actions include erosion of La Colonial's capital base, either as a result of negative operating performance or changes in the macroeconomic environment that adversely impact the operations of the company. Additionally, any major changes in La Colonial's capital base, including significant dividends or capital outflows, which diminish AM Best's view of the company's balance sheet strength, could result in negative rating actions.
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.
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