AM Best Maintains Under Review With Negative Implications Status for Credit Ratings of BNZ Life Insurance Limited


SINGAPORE–()–AM Best has maintained the under review with negative implications status for the Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a” (Excellent) of BNZ Life Insurance Limited (BNZ Life) (New Zealand).

These Credit Ratings (ratings) were placed under review with negative implications on 18 December 2020, following the announcement that National Australia Bank Limited, BNZ Life’s ultimate parent, had entered into an agreement to sell its New Zealand life insurance business, including BNZ Life, to Partners Life Limited (Partners Life). The transaction also includes the establishment of an exclusive 10-year agreement for the referral of Bank of New Zealand customers with life insurance needs to Partners Life. The total transaction consideration is NZD 290 million (USD 208 million).

The ratings have been maintained under review with negative implications following a revision to the expected timeframe for completion of the transaction. Whilst remaining subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory and other approvals, the transaction is now expected to complete in the second half of calendar year 2022.

The under review with negative implications status reflects the need for AM Best to assess the impact of the planned acquisition on BNZ Life’s credit fundamentals, including any potential rating drag that could arise from its change in ownership. In addition, AM Best will need to consider the planned integration of BNZ Life within the Partners Life group, any expected changes in strategy and any implicit or explicit support to be provided by the new parent. The ratings will remain under review pending completion of the transaction and until AM Best can complete its assessment of BNZ Life’s post-acquisition credit rating fundamentals.

For the fiscal year ended 30 September 2021, BNZ Life’s risk-adjusted capitalisation remained at the strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). The company’s operating performance remains strong, with a five-year average return-on-equity ratio of 26.7% (fiscal years 2017 to 2021).

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.

AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specialising 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 © 2022 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.



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