SINGAPORE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of B++ (Good) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “bbb” (Good) of Momentum Life Limited (Momentum Life) (New Zealand). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.
The ratings reflect Momentum Life’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as adequate, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM). In addition, the ratings factor in no rating lift or drag from the company’s 100% ownership by BlueInc Group Pty Limited.
AM Best expects Momentum Life’s risk-adjusted capitalisation, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), to remain at the strongest level over the medium term. Despite forecast underwriting growth driving increased capital requirements, AM Best expects available capital to remain sufficient to support this planned business expansion over the medium term. Partially offsetting balance sheet factors include Momentum Life’s small absolute capital base, which increases its sensitivity to stress scenarios, as well as its high reliance on third-party reinsurance for risk transfer and upfront commission financing.
AM Best considers Momentum Life’s operating performance to be adequate. The company has reported operating profits over the past three fiscal years, with an average return-on-equity ratio of approximately 11% over this period. As a start-up insurer, Momentum Life’s earnings are impacted partially by a high expense ratio, given its small premium base. However, the company’s operating performance to date has been supported by the favourable runoff of trail commission assets arising from insurance distribution operations prior to 2018, and reinsurance commission income, which have both partially offset outward acquisition costs during the company’s initial growth phase. Prospectively, AM Best expects the company to record positive earnings over the medium term, as it grows in scale and executes its strategic business plan.
AM Best views Momentum Life’s business profile as limited, reflecting the company’s small scale as a start-up insurer and its concentration of business in New Zealand’s life insurance sector. The products offered by Momentum Life include guaranteed acceptance funeral insurance and lump-sum life insurance products, which have a low risk profile. Momentum Life benefits from good control over its underwriting and sales practices, with all products distributed through its wholly owned subsidiary.
AM Best views Momentum Life’s ERM as appropriate given the size and complexity of the company’s operations at present. The company’s risk management capabilities have developed since its inception, with regulatory compliance expected to remain a key priority. AM Best considers continual risk management developments as necessary to remain aligned with future changes in Momentum Life’s risk profile, as the company increases its operational scale.
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 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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