Insurance Outlook: Sri Lanka Insurance Sector. Composites to Split by February Sri Lanka. Outlook Report. Outlook Sensitivities

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1 Sri Lanka Composites to Split by February 215 Outlook Report Rating Outlook STABLE (214: STABLE) Rating Outlooks (%) Positive/RWP Stable Negative/RWN Source: Fitch End-213 (%) Current (%) Life Sector Outlook STABLE (214: STABLE) Growing Industry supported by low penetration Greater focus and transparency with the split of composites Investment income to moderate with falling interest rates Non- Life Sector Outlook STABLE (214: STABLE) Premium to grow supported by GDP growth Intense market competition to lead to weak technical results M&A activity to be encouraged by split of composites and more stringent regulation Related Research Other Outlooks Other Research Global Economic Outlook: Multi-Speed Recovery, Multiple Risks (September 214) Go to appendix for list of rated entities Analysts Nayantara Bandaranayake Composite Insurers to Split: Fitch Ratings outlook for the insurance sector in Sri Lanka is stable despite the impending split of composite insurers into life and non-life companies. This is, based on the view that most insurers will maintain stable financial fundamentals in 215, supported by moderate sector growth. Moderate GWP Growth: Fitch expects economic growth and under-penetration in the market to support the growth of total gross written premiums (GWP). Fitch does not expect significant improvement in life penetration in the short term, due to the low disposable income of the population and life premium growth is expected to be moderate. Most Composites to Split: Fitch views the split of composites positively due to greater transparency and policyholder protection it will promote but recognises that some insurers may face operational uncertainties. Most composites are expected to be to split in January 215. Post-split ownership structures and capital will have a bearing on the credit profiles of the individual life and non-life companies. Regulatory Reforms Positive: Fitch views the many regulatory changes as positive for the industry as they will promote efficient capital allocation, corporate governance, and better risk management. Minimum regulatory capital has been increased to LKR5m from LKR1m, risk-based capital (RBC) will replace the current rules-based solvency regime by 216 and insurance companies are required to list by 216 apart from some exemptions. M&A Expected: Fitch expects market consolidation in the medium and long term, encouraged by the more stringent regulations. Fitch views this as positive, given the high number of insurers in Sri Lanka. Many are keen to concentrate on the more profitable life business and are looking to augment their portfolios through inorganic growth. Some composites are willing to divest the fiercely competitive non-life business. Investment Returns to Decline: Fitch expects falling interest rates to affect the investment income of many insurers. Sri Lankan insurers are accustomed to higher returns that in the past counterbalanced poor underwriting performance in non-life. Some insurers could be attracted to equity investments, including non-core/illiquid investments, due to these moderate interest rates. Outlook Sensitivities Weaker Capitalisation: A significant decrease in capitalisation and solvency ratios with the split of the composites could lead to Fitch changing the sector outlook to negative. Any weakening in risk capital due to profit volatility or higher equity exposure in investments will be negative for issuer ratings. Sustained Losses: Severe price competition in motor, leading to weak technical results and/or significant reduction in investment income due to falling interest rates that result in sustained losses would be negative for the non-life industry. Stronger Macroeconomy: Significant growth in real gross domestic product and disposable income that is conducive to deeper penetration will be positive for the industry. Jeffrey Liew

2 Insurance Key Issues GDP Growth to Support Premiums Fitch expects moderate premium growth, in both life and non-life supported by a growing economy and the low penetration levels in the market.. Fitch estimates GDP growth in FY14 to be 7.3%, and to increase marginally to 7.5% in FY15 (213:7.3%). Figure 1 Insurance Sector Growth Gross written premium (LKRm) 1, 8, 6, 4, 2, Life Source: IBSL, Fitch Non life The insurance sector grew steadily for over a decade, except in 29, when premiums contracted due to a slowdown in the global and local economies. Motor insurance accounts for over 6% of non-life premiums. Non-life GWP is sensitive to vehicle import tax rates and the resulting movement in new registrations. A reduction in import duty led to a spike in vehicle imports, and GWP growth of 18.47% in 211. Premium growth then slowed to 11.32% in 212, mainly due to a poorly performing stock market affecting unit-linked life products and to 8.39% in 213 with the government s effort to curtail vehicle imports to manage the exchange rate. The reduction in duty for small vehicles (under 1cc) as announced in the budget could result in higher vehicle imports in 215 and support non-life GWP growth. Low Penetration Continues in Medium Term Sri Lanka remains heavily under-penetrated by insurance with the total premium/gdp ratio falling further to just 1.9% in 213 with.48% penetration for life and.61% for non-life. This compares with a 5.4% penetration rate for Asia, 3.8% penetration for life and 1.6% penetration for non-life (as reported by Swiss Re No3/214). Fitch does not expect any drastic increase in life penetration in the short and medium term as disposable income levels are still low. Lack of awareness and appreciation of the concept and benefits of insurance and lack of confidence in the industry contribute to this position. Pushy selling strategies have also led to high lapse ratios. Free health services and education accessible to all citizens and a pension scheme for public sector employees eliminate the need for certain insurance products for the segment of the population who choose to rely on these state services. Figure 2 Insurance Penetration Total premiums/gdp (%) Insurance density(total industry premium income/population) (LKR) 4,613 4,288 3,761 3,28 2,814 No of life policies in force as a % of total population No of life policies in force as a % of the labour force GDP growth Source: IBSL, Fitch Most Composites to Split by February 215 IBSL regulation requires composites to split their life and non-life businesses by February 215. The District Court of Colombo has withdrawn the approval granted for the segregation of a key player in the market, citing non-compliance with the Companies Act in the application made for segregation. Fitch expects post-split operational issues to be minimal for established companies, as they have previously operated with a quasi-separation between the two segments. IBSL has allowed shared services in some functions including actuarial, legal, finance and IT to ease the process of splitting and minimise immediate cost escalations from the split. The regulator requires the shared services to be phased out by 22. 2

3 Dec 7 Sep 8 Jun 9 Mar 1 Dec 1 Sep 11 Jun 12 Mar 13 Dec 13 Sep 14 Insurance The split is expected to provide greater focus and promote efficient use of capital, in the medium and long term. In the short term the credit profiles of some of the smaller players could be affected depending on factors such as ownership structures and the split of existing capital and growth. Figure 3 Life Average Investments Inner ring: 212 Outer ring: 213 Govt debt securities Deposits Equities Corporate debt Other assets (incl unit trust & gold) Land & bldg 3% 3% Policy loans 1% 12% Figure 4 Figure 5 13% 19% Source : IBSL, Fitch 7% 1% 3% 15% 3% 49% 17% 54% Non- Life Average Investments Inner ring: 212 Outer ring: 213 Govt debt securities Deposits Equities Corporate debt Other assets(incl unit trust, gold) Land & bldg 5% 3% 35% Source: IBSL, Fitch 12% 3% 12% 4% 32% 37% 12% 29% 16% Interest Rate (28 214) TB-1Year (Interest rate %) Some regulator-approved post-split structures include: a holding company with two subsidiaries life and non-life; or the life business is placed in the holding company with a subsidiary incorporated for non-life. Regardless of the structure, many companies have opted to retain the long-tail, life business in the existing company and move the non-life business to a newly incorporated company. This has been done for tax and legal considerations including the avoidance of issues in transferring life policies/contracts. RBC to Replace Solvency Regime by 216 RBC will be the primary tool for capital regulation from 216, and insurers have the option of moving away from current solvency reporting even before that date. The regulator has indicated that all insurers will be required to report RBC parallel to solvency in 215. The move to RBC has already encouraged better discipline in the investment function. RBC will result in greater precision in measurement of capital on a risk-adjusted basis and promote better risk management.. Fitch expects the higher compliance and administrative costs of adopting RBC to burden the smaller companies. Listing to Promote Transparency and Governance Fitch expects the mandatory public listing by 216 to provide greater transparency and promote better governance, thereby improving policyholder protection. Certain exemptions to the requirement to list on the Colombo Stock Exchange may be granted. This covers fully foreignowned insurers, whose holding companies are incorporated abroad and are listed on a stock exchange acceptable to the regulator. Falling Interest Rates Constrain Investment Yield Fitch expects falling interest rates to affect the investment income of insurers who are accustomed to higher returns, which in the past masked poor underwriting performance in nonlife operations. Fitch expects some insurers to increase exposure to equities because of moderate interest rates. Industry equity exposure is already high at 35% in non-life and shareholder funds and 13% in life. Regulatory Changes to Spur M&A Activity Many established insurers are striving to grow their profitable life businesses inorganically. Some insurers are also considering divesting their non-life businesses where there have been large underwriting losses because of intense price competition. Historically high investment yields from high interest rates enabled some non-life businesses to record profits despite poor technical results. Non-life losses, when combined with life profits produced bottom-line profits for many composites. With the split, there will be greater visibility on the profitability of each line of business, which will promote greater focus and encourage consolidation across companies. Fitch expects all regulatory changes underway (split, RBC and listing) to promote consolidation due to the higher compliance and administrative costs. Source: Central Bank, Fitch There were some ownership changes in insurance companies in 214. John Keels Holding, parent company of Union Assurance Lanka Ltd (fourth largest insurer by assets) announced its intention to divest 78% of its non-life business to Fairfax Asia Limited, an international company. AIG Insurance, which held less than 1% of non-life market share, is exiting the market, citing a lack of fit of the local operation with the group s strategic growth plans. 3

4 Figure 6 Non-Life GWP by Class 1% 8% 6% 4% 2% % Figure 7 Motor Misc Fire Marine Source: IBSL,Fitch Combined Ratio Non Life (%) Net claims Net expenses Net combined ratio Source: IBSL,Fitch Non-Life Underwriting Losses to Continue Fitch expects the underwriting losses of many non-life entities to continue in the short and medium term driven by the intense competition, especially in motor. The smaller companies will strive to achieve critical mass, with each segment of business having to operate separately from 215. Many of the smaller companies have been successful in gaining market share from the well established companies through aggressive pricing. Some larger players have kept away from this unhealthy competition and have focused on bottom-line profitability. Motor insurance is the largest line in the non-life insurance market, representing 62.2% of total net premiums written in 213. The slowing growth rate for the motor business from a high of 29.56% in 211 to 16.57% in 212 and 4.56% by 213 also fuelled competition. The non-life combined ratio of many companies has been over 1%, while a few of the well established companies, including Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Limited that has about 25% of the market, have recorded underwriting profits with combined ratios of under 9%. This has brought down the industry combined ratio to just over 1%. (213:11.67%) Fitch expects that many of the smaller and more aggressive non-life insurers will continue to make underwriting losses in the short and medium term. 214 Review Total industry premium growth moderated to 3% to 2Q14 from 2Q13. The total assets of the sector grew by over 1% yoy to 2Q14. Slowing growth in motor premiums and medical segments affected the growth in non-life GWP. Insurers have carried out preparatory work to meet the new and more stringent regulatory requirements. The regulator has indicated that all companies have obtained regulatory approval for their respective post-split structures. Many companies are expected to complete the split by January 215. The road test for RBC reporting was conducted with some insurers reporting RBC in parallel with the solvency reporting. 4

5 Appendix Figure 8 Issuer Ratings Issuer National IFS Rating/ (Current) IFS Rating/ (Current) National IFS Rating/ (End-213) IFS Rating/ (End-213) Sri Lanka Insurance AA(lka)/Stable BB /Stable AA(lka)/Stable BB /Stable Corporation Limited HNB Assurance PLC A(lka)/Stable n.a. A(lka)/Stable n.a. Continental Insurance A (lka)/stable n.a. Not Applicable n.a. Plc Ltd Asian Alliance Insurance BBB(lka)/RWN B/RWN BBB+(lka)/Stable B/Stable PLC Source: Fitch Figure 9 Key Financials of Seven Largest Insurers by Total Assets Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Ltd Ceylinco AIA Insurance Insurance PLC Lanka PLC Union Assurance PLC Janashakthi HNB Assurance Insurance PLC PLC Asian Alliance Insurance PLC IFS BB-/Stable n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. B/RWN National IFS AA(lka)/Stable A(lka)/Stable BBB(lka)/RWN Total assets (LKRbn) Market share by premium non-life (%) Market share by premium life (%) Regulatory solvency margin, non-life Regulatory solvency margin, life Equity/assets (%) Data as of end-december 213 Source: IBSL and Fitch 5

6 ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY'S PUBLIC WEB SITE AT PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA, AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH'S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE, AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE CODE OF CONDUCT SECTION OF THIS SITE. FITCH MAY HAVE PROVIDED ANOTHER PERMISSIBLE SERVICE TO THE RATED ENTITY OR ITS RELATED THIRD PARTIES. DETAILS OF THIS SERVICE FOR RATINGS FOR WHICH THE LEAD ANALYST IS BASED IN AN EU-REGISTERED ENTITY CAN BE FOUND ON THE ENTITY SUMMARY PAGE FOR THIS ISSUER ON THE FITCH WEBSITE. Copyright 214 by Fitch, Inc., Fitch Ratings Ltd. and its subsidiaries. 33 Whitehall Street, NY, NY 14.Telephone: , (212) Fax: (212) Reproduction or retransmission in whole or in part is prohibited except by permission. All rights reserved. In issuing and maintaining its ratings, Fitch relies on factual information it receives from issuers and underwriters and from other sources Fitch believes to be credible. Fitch conducts a reasonable investigation of the factual information relied upon by it in accordance with its ratings methodology, and obtains reasonable verification of that information from independent sources, to the extent such sources are available for a given security or in a given jurisdiction. The manner of Fitch s factual investigation and the scope of the third-party verification it obtains will vary depending on the nature of the rated security and its issuer, the requirements and practices in the jurisdiction in which the rated security is offered and sold and/or the issuer is located, the availability and nature of relevant public information, access to the management of the issuer and its advisers, the availability of pre-existing third-party verifications such as audit reports, agreed-upon procedures letters, appraisals, actuarial reports, engineering reports, legal opinions and other reports provided by third parties, the availability of independent and competent third-party verification sources with respect to the particular security or in the particular jurisdiction of the issuer, and a variety of other factors. Users of Fitch s ratings should understand that neither an enhanced factual investigation nor any third-party verification can ensure that all of the information Fitch relies on in connection with a rating will be accurate and complete. Ultimately, the issuer and its advisers are responsible for the accuracy of the information they provide to Fitch and to the market in offering documents and other reports. In issuing its ratings Fitch must rely on the work of experts, including independent auditors with respect to financial statements and attorneys with respect to legal and tax matters. Further, ratings are inherently forward-looking and embody assumptions and predictions about future events that by their nature cannot be verified as facts. As a result, despite any verification of current facts, ratings can be affected by future events or conditions that were not anticipated at the time a rating was issued or affirmed. The information in this report is provided as is without any representation or warranty of any kind. A Fitch rating is an opinion as to the creditworthiness of a security. This opinion is based on established criteria and methodologies that Fitch is continuously evaluating and updating. Therefore, ratings are the collective work product of Fitch and no individual, or group of individuals, is solely responsible for a rating. The rating does not address the risk of loss due to risks other than credit risk, unless such risk is specifically mentioned. Fitch is not engaged in the offer or sale of any security. All Fitch reports have shared authorship. Individuals identified in a Fitch report were involved in, but are not solely responsible for, the opinions stated therein. The individuals are named for contact purposes only. A report providing a Fitch rating is neither a prospectus nor a substitute for the information assembled, verified and presented to investors by the issuer and its agents in connection with the sale of the securities. Ratings may be changed or withdrawn at anytime for any reason in the sole discretion of Fitch. Fitch does not provide investment advice of any sort. Ratings are not a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. Ratings do not comment on the adequacy of market price, the suitability of any security for a particular investor, or the tax-exempt nature or taxability of payments made in respect to any security. Fitch receives fees from issuers, insurers, guarantors, other obligors, and underwriters for rating securities. Such fees generally vary from US$1, to US$75, (or the applicable currency equivalent) per issue. In certain cases, Fitch will rate all or a number of issues issued by a particular issuer, or insured or guaranteed by a particular insurer or guarantor, for a single annual fee. Such fees are expected to vary from US$1, to US$1,5, (or the applicable currency equivalent). The assignment, publication, or dissemination of a rating by Fitch shall not constitute a consent by Fitch to use its name as an expert in connection with any registration statement filed under the United States securities laws, the Financial Services and Markets Act 2 of the United Kingdom, or the securities laws of any particular jurisdiction. Due to the relative efficiency of electronic publishing and distribution, Fitch research may be available to electronic subscribers up to three days earlier than to print subscribers. 6

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