AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of "a" of Pozavarovalnica Sava d.d. (Sava Re) (Slovenia), the operating holding company of the Sava Re group. The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.
The ratings reflect Sava Re's balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorises as very strong, as well as its strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).
Sava Re's strongest level of risk-adjusted capitalisation, as measured by Best's Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), liquid investment portfolio, prudent reserving and good internal capital generation collectively contribute to an overall balance sheet assessment of very strong. Additionally, the company exhibits a low reliance on reinsurance and sound financial flexibility, with access to both equity and debt markets. AM Best expects the company's balance sheet to remain at the very strong level in the medium term.
Sava Re has a track record of generating strong and stable operating results, as indicated by a five-year (2015-2019) weighted average return-on-equity ratio (ROE) of 11.7% (as calculated by AM Best). Consistent reporting of operating profits over the past five years has been driven by sound life and non-life underwriting performance, and supplemented by healthy investment income. At year-end 2019, the company reported a combined ratio of 95.6% with a five-year average combined ratio 94.3% (both calculated by AM Best). At half-year 2020, Sava Re's combined ratio and ROE were 91.7% and 14.3%, respectively, as reported by the company. The group originates 70% of its non-life gross written premiums (GWP) in Slovenia, where its leading competitive position and prudent underwriting enables it to generate strong and relatively stable underwriting earnings. AM Best expects Sava Re's operating performance to remain strong over the medium term, supported by disciplined underwriting and good risk selection.
Sava Re benefits from a strong position in its core domestic market of Slovenia, where it holds approximately a 20% market share in terms of GWP, following its acquisition of Slovenian life insurer NLB Vita življenjska zavarovalnica d.d. earlier this year. The group's insurance business is dominated by premiums written in Slovenia; however, the company has been actively expanding in the West Balkan markets, as evidenced by recent acquisitions. AM Best expects to see further geographic diversification in the medium term in both the direct and reinsurance segments, as the group continues to prudently develop its position in the international reinsurance market.
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Michael Dunckley, CFA
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