A.M. Best affirms credit ratings of Bahamas First Holdings Ltd. subsidiaries
A.M. Best has affirmed the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and the long-term issuer credit rating of “a-” of Bahamas First General Insurance Company Limited (BFG) and Cayman First Insurance Company Limited (CFI) (Cayman Islands), the property/casualty operating subsidiaries of Bahamas First Holdings Limited (BFH). The outlook of these credit ratings is stable.
The ratings of BFG and CFI reflect the group’s balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.
The balance sheet strength is derived from the group’s risk-adjusted capitalization being at the strongest level and its ability to raise capital if needed. This is offset partially by a high dependence on the reinsurance markets to protect capital in the event of natural catastrophes. Furthermore, capital growth may be constrained because of the operating companies’ continuing obligation to pay dividends to BFH to service its outstanding debt.
In recent years, the group’s operating performance has been favorable, especially in years with little impact from major hurricanes affecting The Bahamas or Cayman Islands. Overall earnings have supported capital growth, despite highly competitive markets and difficult economic conditions. The business profile is considered neutral because the group has leading market positions and operations in The Bahamas and Cayman Islands. As a consequence, it benefits somewhat from geographic diversification and product mix, which help to stabilize earnings through market cycles and reduce the impact of catastrophic events.
A.M. Best anticipates that the group will continue to produce favorable earnings in non-catastrophe affected years and that its strong surplus position and comprehensive reinsurance program will continue to keep the balance sheet at the strongest level.