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S&P affirms ratings of Great Eastern General Insurance

S&P Global Ratings affirmed Great Eastern General Insurance Ltd.'s long-term counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings at AA-, with a stable outlook.

The rating agency said July 10 that it also affirmed the company's long-term ASEAN regional scale rating at "axAAA."

The rating action follows the company's renaming from Overseas Assurance Corp. Ltd. and the transfer of its life insurance business to Great Eastern Life Assurance Co. Ltd. Following the transfer, the insurer will only underwrite general insurance business in both Singapore and Malaysia.

The affirmation reflects S&P's view of Great Eastern General Insurance's core status to its ultimate parent Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Ltd., and as such aligned the insurer's ratings with the group credit profile of OCBC.

Given that Great Eastern Holdings Ltd., the holding entity of Great Eastern General Insurance and Great Eastern Life Assurance, identified general insurance as one of its key strategic businesses over the next few years, S&P believes that the likelihood of Great Eastern General Insurance being sold is remote over the next two years.

The rating agency believes that Great Eastern General Insurance's rebranding will allow it to leverage on the Great Eastern group's robust franchise and market positions in Singapore and Malaysia's life insurance markets.

The stable outlook on Great Eastern General Insurance reflects the outlook on OCBC, as well as the view that the insurer will maintain its core status to the Great Eastern group.

The rating agency said it could downgrade the insurer's ratings if it downgrades OCBC's ratings or if S&P's view of the insurer's status to the Great Eastern group changes. Conversely, the insurer's ratings could be upgraded if OCBC's ratings are upgraded and the Great Eastern group maintains its core status to OCBC.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.