Best Affirms Misr Insurance ‘A-‘ Rating

A.M. Best Co. announced that it has affirmed the financial strength rating of “A-” (Excellent) of Egypt’s Misr Insurance Company, with a stable outlook. “The rating reflects the company’s excellent risk-adjusted capitalisation, operating performance and business profile in the Egyptian market,” said Best.

Best said it “believes that Misr’s risk-adjusted capital is excellent as a result of conservative retention levels (40.8 percent in 2002) and off balance sheet strength from its real estate portfolio.” It warned, however, that “capital remains subject to risk from the company’s sizeable position in unlisted equities, equivalent to 19 percent of total investments.” It also indicated that it does not “expect risk-adjusted capitalisation to improve as Misr is required to distribute 70 percent of its profits to its employees and to the Egyptian government.”

Best did note the company’s excellent operating performance, and said that it believes “Misr’s excellent record of strong results will continue and expects the company to report a profit of approximately EGP 200 million (USD 33.4 million) at year-end June 2003. This reflects the company’s selective underwriting and efficient expense structure (20 percent expense ratio in 2002).”

Misr also enjoys an excellent market profile in Egypt, and Best expects the company to record strong growth (approximately 25 to 30 percent) in gross premiums. “The Egyptian market is undergoing a period of liberalisation, and as a result, it has been opened up to new entrants, ending the monopoly of the Egyptian state-owned companies,” Best observed. “During this period, Misr has maintained its position as leader in the non-life market and second-largest participant in the life market. A.M. Best believes that this position will not be substantially eroded in the immediate future. A partially offsetting factor is the company’s dependence upon the Egyptian market for business.”