S&P raises Ageas Insurance rating

Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has raised the rating of Ageas Insurance Limited (AIL) to ‘A’ with a stable outlook, confirming confidence in the financial strength of the business.

The announcement follows confirmation in May this year that S&P had granted AIL an A- rating with a positive outlook, reflecting AIL’s strategic importance to Ageas group and firmly positioning it as core to the global business.

In granting the A rating, S&P referred to the sustainability of Ageas’s ‘very strong capital and earnings’ as well as the expectation for the non-life earnings to stabilise over the next two to three years as a result of disciplined pricing. S&P further confirmed that the stable outlook was reflective of expectations that Ageas group’s financial risk profile would not be weakened by any potential acquisitions, dividends, share buybacks or cost of legacy issues over the next two years.

Commenting on the news François-Xavier Boisseau, CEO Insurance said, ‘An upgrade in financial rating is very difficult to achieve in current markets, as highlighted in a report from S&P only two weeks ago. The move to an A rating with a stable outlook is further affirmation of our financial strength, giving our brokers and partners the confidence that we will be able to meet their customers’ needs.’

In the UK, the company is entirely focused on developing in the non-life market, perfectly aligned to the global strategy of balancing life and non-life income. Last week, Ageas UK reported its nine month results for 2015 showing an increase in underlying profit to £46.9 million (9M 2014: £44.5 million) and a 1 point year on year improvement in Combined Operating Ratio to 98.3%.

As part of this latest rating action, S&P also raised the rating for AG Insurance to ‘A’ and ‘BBB’ for the holding company Ageas SA/NV. The outlook on all ratings is stable.