A.M. Best Company

09/21/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/21/2023 10:44

AM Best Revises Outlooks to Negative, Affirms Credit Ratings of Seguros Suramericana S.A.

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SEPTEMBER 21, 2023 12:34 PM (EDT)

AM Best Revises Outlooks to Negative, Affirms Credit Ratings of Seguros Suramericana S.A.

Olga Rubo, FRM
Senior Financial Analyst
+52 55 1102 2720, ext. 134
[email protected]

Salvador Smith
Senior Financial Analyst
+52 55 1102 2720, ext. 109
[email protected]

Christopher Sharkey
Associate Director, Public Relations
+1 908 882 2310
[email protected]

Al Slavin
Senior Public Relations Specialist
+1 908 882 2318
[email protected]


AM Best has revised the outlooks to negative from stable and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of "a" (Excellent) of Seguros Suramericana S.A. (Sura) (Panama).

These Credit Ratings (ratings) reflect Sura's balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as strongest, as well as its strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The outlook revisions reflect AM Best's expectation that the company will not be able to reverse the negative trend in operating performance over the next rating cycle. This could lead to a decline in the overall assessment of Sura's operating performance in the near term.

Sura's balance sheet strength is supported by a well-structured reinsurance program and synergies provided by Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana S.A. (Grupo Sura), a leading Colombia-based financial services company in Latin America's insurance, asset management and banking industries, as well as sound underwriting performance, initially driven by its 2015 integration with Seguros Banistmo, S.A. Offsetting these positive rating factors are Panama's highly competitive landscape, which puts additional pressure on Sura's operating performance, and the company's historically high dividend payout ratios.

As of June 2023, the company was the fifth-largest insurer in Panama, with a market share of 7.5%; 68% of its business portfolio is composed of non-life products, with life products making up the remaining 32%. Sura's main property/casualty business segment is auto, which represents 34% of its gross written premium.

Grupo Sura's initiative in 2018 to optimize shareholder value through the merger of intermediate insurance holding companies, Suramericana S.A. and Inversura Panamá Internacional S.A., drove a stock split transaction for its subsidiary, Aseguradora Suiza Salvadoreña, S.A. This further enhanced Sura's risk-adjusted capitalization, which was already at the strongest level, as measured by Best's Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). Sura's capital base continues to be driven by its value-based management model, while meeting the group's post-merger return on investment goals. AM Best expects Sura to follow consistent capital management guidelines supportive of its ratings. Additionally, the company's balance sheet strength is supported by a comprehensive reinsurance program, set with reinsurers that have excellent security, as well as the implementation of an internal economic capital model.

During 2022, most of the company's lines of business sustained an overall contraction of 4.6%, reflecting the challenges of the current economic environment. The level of claims rose mainly due to the impact of Covid-19 cases, as well as increases in parts and labor costs affecting the auto segment. The company expects a decrease in its loss ratio for year-end 2023. Despite efforts to maintain all lines of business under premiums sufficiency, the results reflect an opportunity for underwriting improvements, and put pressure on the company's profitability. As of June 2023, Sura's operating performance metrics still face a downturn, contributing to a net loss of USD 1.8 million.

Negative rating actions could take place as a result of a continuing deterioration in the company's operating performance metrics to levels no longer supportive of the strong assessment. Negative rating actions could also occur if the company's risk-adjusted capitalization deteriorates to a level no longer supportive of the current ratings as a result of capital base erosion. Positive rating actions could take place if the company is able to reverse the current trend in its operating performance metrics.

The methodology used in determining these ratings is Best's Credit Rating Methodology (Version Nov. 13, 2020), which provides a comprehensive explanation of AM Best's rating process and contains the different rating criteria employed in the rating process. Best's Credit Rating Methodology can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.

Key insurance criteria reports utilized:

  • Evaluating Country Risk (Version May 4, 2023)

  • Understanding Global BCAR (Version July 6, 2023)

  • Catastrophe Analysis in AM Best Ratings (Version March 10, 2023)

  • Available Capital and Holding Company Analysis (Version Oct. 13, 2017)

  • Scoring and Assessing Innovation (Version Feb. 27, 2023)

View a general description of the policies and procedures used to determine credit ratings. For information on the meaning of ratings, structure, voting and the committee process for determining the ratings and monitoring activities, relevant sources of information and the frequency for updating ratings, please refer to Guide to Best's Credit Ratings.

  • Previous Rating Date: Sept. 15, 2022

  • Initial Rating Date: Sept. 14, 2017

  • Date Range of Financial Data Used: Dec. 31, 2017-June 30, 2023

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 rating(s) that have been published on AM Best's website. For additional 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.

If the ratings referred in this press release do not indicate a specific country suffix, it is understood that they are granted globally and not on a national scale.

AM Best does not validate or certify the information provided by the client in order to issue a credit rating.

While the information obtained from the material source(s) is believed to be reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed. AM Best does not audit the company's financial records or statements, or otherwise independently verify the accuracy and reliability of the information; therefore, AM Best cannot attest as to the accuracy of the information provided.

AM Best's credit ratings are independent and objective opinions, not statements of fact. AM Best is not an Investment Advisor, does not offer investment advice of any kind, nor does the company or its Ratings Analysts offer any form of structuring or financial advice. AM Best's credit opinions are not recommendations to buy, sell or hold securities, or to make any other investment decisions. View our entire notice for complete details.

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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 London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City.