A.M. Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of "a+" of QBE Insurance (Europe) Ltd., QBE Re (Europe) Ltd. and the pooled members of QBE North America Insurance Group. These companies are key operating subsidiaries of QBE Insurance Group Ltd., the non-operating holding company of the QBE group of companies. At the same time, A.M. Best has affirmed the Long-Term ICR of "bbb+" of QBE. The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) remains stable.
The ratings reflect QBE's balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its strong operating performance, favorable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.
QBE's balance sheet strength is underpinned by consolidated risk-adjusted capitalization, which remained at the very strong level as at year-end 2017, as measured by Best's Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), despite the impact of catastrophe losses, poor experience on the emerging market portfolios and a one-off write-down of the deferred tax asset on capital. The group's write-down of goodwill of $700 million in 2017 does not impact A.M. Best's assessment of risk-adjusted capitalization as goodwill is excluded from available capital in the calculation. A.M. Best expects consolidated risk-adjusted capitalization to improve in 2018 due primarily to a reduction in claims reserves as catastrophe losses are paid down, as well as the sale of the group's Latin America business, which is expected to complete in the fourth quarter of 2018. A.M. Best's assessment takes into account QBE's commitment to its three-year scheme to buy back up to A$1 billion of shares.