Rating as a complex assessment of the insurance company's financial condition provided by independent expert has become one of the main elements of the "non-price competition". Simply having the rating, as well as its level make the insurance company stand out, serving as an evidence of the company's openness and the transparency of its activity.
There are multiple indicators characterizing the insurance companies' activity. The choice of the indicators depends on the purpose of the rating. In this case the target set is to evaluate the reliability of the insurance company.
In our assessment methodology the indicators are split into two groups characterizing different aspects of the insurance company's activity: insurance activity and financial indicators. That is, the efficiency of the company's activity is demonstrated by two sets of indicators. First of all the efficiency of the company's insurance operations is carefully scrutinized, and secondly the general efficiency of the company's financial performance, including the effect of the investment operations and other sources of income, is evaluated.
This method of assessment lets the experts, as well as potential insurance clients evaluate the company both in terms of financial stability and/or successful in the insurance business.
Financial indicators of insurance company's performance
When analyzing the reported financial figures of a company two key aspects of the company's activity are highlighted: the solvency (paying capacity) of the insurance company and its financial stability.
Solvency – the ability of the insurance company to meet its financial obligations fully and in time.
Financial stability (reliability) – the ability of the company to sustain its current level of solvency over a longer period of time under the effect of possible unfavourable internal and external factors.
At the same time, the analysts evaluate both quantitative and qualitative factors. The main tools employed include horizontal (the dynamics of the indicators) and vertical (the structural analysis of the items) analyses of the absolute indicators, as well as financial metrics (the estimated financial ratios).
Financial indicators characterizing different aspects of the insurance companies' financial conditions are chategorised into the following groups:
Liquidity indicators provide information about a firm's ability to meet its short-term financial obligations using the readily available cash and/or selling its liquid assets. The company's liquidity is usually evaluated using the quick and current liquidity ratios.
Financial stability (capital structure) indicators reflect the proportion of the company's own and borrowed assets in the sources of the company's financing, i.e. characterise the degree of the company's financial independence. This is an important feature of the enterprise's stability. It is mainly described using the debt and debt-to-equity ratios.
Profitability indicators demonstrate the profitability of the company's insurance activity. It is mainly illustrated by the return on insurance activity, return on equity, return on assets, and return on investments ratios.
Business activeness indicators. Business activeness is a complex and dynamic feature of the entrepreneurial activity and the efficiency of the use of resources. The method of the analysis of the business activity involves the economically founded evaluation of the efficiency and intensiveness of the use of company's resources and identification of the reserves available for its improvement. Business activeness is characterised by qualitative as well as quantitative indicators.
The qualitative indicators are: the size of the sales markets (both domestic and external), business reputation of the company and its clients, competitive position, etc. The quantitative assessment is provided in two directions: the study of the dynamics and measurement of the growth of absolute indicators of the company's activity and the study of the values and dynamics of the relative indicators characterising the efficiency of the use of company's resources.
Quality of the investment portfolio. For this sector it is extremely important to establish whether the insurance company's investment strategy corresponds to the structure of its liabilities, and the degree of the effect the return on investments may have on the general yield of the company. In the analysis of the quality of the company's investments, SAIPRO looks at the following key factors: diversification of the interest-earning assets, the quality of the interest-earning assets, the strategy of assets distribution, the profitability of the investments, etc.
Insurance activity indicators
This section looks at and evaluates the efficiency of the insurance company's main activity, its ability to implement into practice the development strategy it has chosen, to use its strengths to the maximum and to neutralise its weaknesses, the business potential of the company, the degree of the effect the industry risks can have on this particular company's performance, etc. When analysing the main activity of the insurance companies, the following factors are looked at:
Efficiency of insurance operations. Among the main indicators reflecting the efficiency of the insurance operations are the sufficiency of the insurance reserves, the proportion of the insurance coverage payouts, the growth of the insurance premiums and obligations, the balanced structure of the insurance portfolio, the efficiency of the reinsurance operations, the dynamics of the insurance contract signing, the diversification of the services rendered, the tariff policy of the company, etc.
Industry risks. Industry risks are the reflection of the business environment in which the company operates. When evaluating the industry risks of the insurance activity the following key factors are paid attention to: the current condition of the insurance market, the volatility of the market conjuncture, the level of competition, the stability of the legislative base and the regulations concerning business, strengths and weaknesses of the company's activity, legal and functional organisation of the company, the market share held by the company as a whole and segment-specific, etc.
Company management efficiency. The evaluation of the efficiency of the company's management envisages the evaluation of the management and strategy of company's development. The quality and reliability of the top management are one of the key factors determining the company's success and its future progress. Also, import role belongs to the availability of the highly qualified operational staff, capable of working efficiently. In the analysis of the efficiency of the company's management attention is given to the following elements: the main focus of the company's activity, the business qualities (qualifications) of the management and the system of operational control over the company's activity, financial strategy, the order of corporate planning, the quality of the company's organisational structure, the company's regional policy and the nature of control over the activity of regional offices, the integration of the automated management system, etc.
SAIPRO Company's rating affirmation procedure
The rating of an insurance company's reliability is affirmed based on the data presented by the company as well as the data received from the open sources which SAIPRO Company evaluates as reliable.
The reliability rating of an insurance company may only be affirmed if the rating agency has collected sufficient volume of information to be able to do so.
The following data sources are used for the rating analysis of the companies:
Financial reports: balance sheet, income statement;
Calculations carried out in compliance with the Regulation "On the order of determining maximum allowable size of liabilities for particular risks, the consolidated size of the liabilities and the norms of the insurance company's solvency" (No. 1571 of 6 May 2006):
- calculations of the retention and reinsurance (Appendix to the Requirements on Reinsurance Operations);
- information on the placement of assets by the insurance companies (Appendix No. 2);
- calculation of the normative size of the admissible assets of the insurance companies (Appendices No. 3 and No. 4);
Information on compliance with the Regulation "On the order and terms of formation and appropriation of insurance reserves by the insurance companies" (N. 1571 of 6 May 2006):
- information on the general size of the insurance reserves (Appendix No. 1);
- information on the structure of assets (Appendix No. 2).
Application form developed by the SAIPRO Company in which broad and detailed information on the company's activity is presented.
Main steps in the rating procedure
Insurance company requests rating. At this stage the contract on the rating assessment is signed and all the issues concerning the following procedure of rating affirmation and the main aspects of the following cooperation are discussed.
Information collection and analysis. In order to collect all the information required for the analysis the insurance company presents the compilation of the reports specified in the contract. At the same time the analysts have the right to request additional information for clarification of some aspects. All confidential information provided is kept on the conditions of strict confidentiality. The processing and analysis of the information provided as well as the information available through open sources and recognized as reliable is carried out in accordance with the methodology of insurance companies rating developed by the SAIPRO Company.
Rating report preparation. According to the results of the analysis of the information on the activity of the company provided in the process of rating, the analysts of the SAIPRO Company prepare a detailed rating report.
Rating. Following the detailed discussion of all the factors affecting the reliability of the insurance company, SAIPRO analysts measure the level of the company's rating. The insurance company is provided the information on the rating, and its justification (rating report).
Rating affirmation. The decision on the public affirmation of the rating awarded to the insurance company for the first time is made by the insurance company independently. If the insurance company decides to allow public affirmation of the rating, SAIPRO Company publishes the information (as well as the rating report) in the media. The insurance company may decide to refuse to publish the rating which it is not satisfied about. In this case, the results of the rating assessment are kept confidential.
Rating monitoring. After the rating has been awarded, SAIPRO Company reserves the right to carry out the constant monitoring of the company's performance regardless of whether the company has agreed to the public affirmation of the rating. If some events occur which may substantially change the reliability assessment of the insurance company, additional analysis is carried out and the rating may be changed based on its results.