Market Overview

AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Zurich Insurance Group Ltd and Its Main Rated Subsidiaries

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AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A+ (Superior) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of "aa-" of the main rated insurance subsidiaries of Zurich Insurance Group Ltd (Zurich) (Switzerland). At the same time, AM Best has affirmed the Long-Term ICR of "a" of Zurich (a non-operating holding company). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.

The ratings reflect Zurich's consolidated balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorises as very strong, as well as its strong operating performance, very favourable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).

Zurich's balance sheet strength is underpinned by risk-adjusted capitalisation, as measured by Best's Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), at the strongest level. The group's balance sheet strength further benefits from excellent liquidity and good financial flexibility, with demonstrated access to capital markets. A partially offsetting factor is Zurich's reliance on soft capital components to support its capital position, which include the value of in-force life business and hybrid debt.

Zurich's strong operating performance is supported by solid returns from its life insurance operations, consistent risk-free income derived from its non-claims management services for Farmers Exchanges (a leading mutual insurance group operating in the United States), and stable investment yields. Additionally, the underlying performance of the group's non-life business has improved in recent years, driven by stronger underwriting discipline, material cost reduction and a shift in business mix toward shorter tail and specialty lines. As a result, the group had a five-year (2015-2019) weighted average return-on-equity of 10.2%. Zurich's operating performance was adversely affected by COVID-19-related claims in the first half of 2020, particularly in the business interruption, workers compensation, and travel insurance lines of business. Nonetheless, the group reported a pre-tax profit, highlighting the benefit of its good diversification of revenue streams.

Zurich is one of the world's leading insurance groups, with excellent diversification by geography and product. The group maintains competitive advantages in Europe and the United States, a strong presence in Latin America and selective positions in Asia Pacific.

The FSR of A+ (Superior) and the Long-Term ICRS of "aa-" have been affirmed with a stable outlook for the following subsidiaries of Zurich:

  • Zurich Insurance Plc
  • The Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland
  • Empire Fire and Marine Insurance Company
  • Empire Indemnity Insurance Company
  • Universal Underwriters Insurance Company
  • American Guarantee and Liability Insurance Company
  • American Zurich Insurance Company
  • Universal Underwriters of Texas Insurance Company
  • Steadfast Insurance Company
  • Zurich American Insurance Company
  • Zurich American Insurance Company of Illinois
  • Colonial American Casualty & Surety Company
  • Rural Community Insurance Company
  • Zurich Insurance Company Limited
  • Zurich American Life Insurance Company

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 media use of Best's Credit Ratings and AM Best press releases, please view Guide for Media - Proper Use of Best's Credit Ratings and AM Best Rating Action Press Releases.

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 over 100 countries with regional offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright © 2020 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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