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AM Best confirmed the financial strength rating of B+ (good) and the long-term issuer credit rating of “bbb-” (good) of Halyk-Life, a life insurance subsidiary of the Halyk Bank of Kazakhstan, JSC (Halyk-Life) (Kasakhstan). Halyk-Life is a wholly owned subsidiary of JSC Halyk Bank, a leading retail bank in Kazakhstan. The outlook for these credit ratings (ratings) is positive.
The ratings reflect the strength of Halyk-Life’s balance sheet, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and marginal management of business risks.
The positive outlook reflects the improvements in Halyk-Life’s operational performance seen in recent years.
Halyk-Life’s balance sheet strength is underpinned by its risk-adjusted capitalization which is assessed at the highest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), based on unaudited regulatory filings of end of 2021. AM Best expects the company’s potential BCAR to remain at the highest level, thanks to strong operating results and a dividend policy that allows sufficient earnings retention to support its growth plans.
Halyk-Life’s investment portfolio is relatively conservative by asset class, with fixed income, cash and bank deposits accounting for approximately 90% of its investments at the end of 2021. Ratings also hold account of Halyk-Life’s exposure to the high levels of economic, political and financial system risk associated with operating primarily in Kazakhstan, as well as the current uncertainty about the impact on Kazakhstan’s economy of sanctions imposed on Russia in response to the conflict in Ukraine.
Halyk-Life has seen improved operational performance in recent years, supported by strong investment returns, although these should be seen in the context of the relatively high inflationary environment in Kazakhstan. In 2021, the company reported a return on equity of approximately 24% (2020: approximately 37%). AM Best expects Halyk-Life to establish a track record of strong operating profitability looking forward, supported by the profitable growth of its life insurance portfolio in 2021 and the steps taken to control its operating expenses. Future results could be affected by the intense competition in the Kazakh life insurance market and the high regulatory risk in the country.
Halyk-Life is one of the leading insurers in the life insurance market in Kazakhstan, with an estimated market share of 32%, based on 2021 gross written premiums. However, Halyk-Life’s operations are limited to its domestic insurance market, which is small by international standards. Nonetheless, the company is less reliant on third-party distribution channels than it has been in the past, given its ability to leverage the relationship with Halyk Bank.
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 relevant disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please see AM Best’s Recent Assessment Activity Web page. For more information on the use and limitations of credit rating opinions, please see Best Credit Score Guide. For more information on the proper use of Best’s credit scores, Best’s preliminary credit assessments, and AM Best’s press releases, please see Guide to Proper Use of Best’s Ratings and Reviews.
AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in more than 100 countries with regional offices in London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.
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Source: AM Best