Swiss Re Group’s good fortunes have helped give it a ratings boost. Fitch Ratings now ranks the company’s financial strength rating as positive or A+, up from stable.
A similar upgrade is in place for Swiss Re’s long-term issuer default rating.
Why the change? Fitch said the ratings improvement stems from Swiss Re’s gains in financial leverage and earnings consistency.
“The affirmation is underpinned by the reinsurer’s very strong-risk adjusted capitalization and dominant position within the global reinsurance sector,” Fitch said. “In Fitch’s view, the business and geographic diversity of Swiss Re’s property & casualty reinsurance portfolio provides high resilience to the softening pricing conditions that are being reported across several reinsurance classes.”
Fitch said that Swiss Re’s continued runoff of its credit derivatives portfolio and a reduction in its operational debt helped improve its financial profile in the first half of 2014. And while Swiss Re’s risk exposure to single-loss events has gone up a bit, Fitch said the range continues to be acceptable, and that the company continues to pursue its financial de-leveraging pans in a positive direction.
Swiss Re’s Fitch ratings upgrade follows a positive 2014 second quarter where it enjoyed improved results in nearly every area. The company booked $802 million in net income in Q2, or $2.34 per share, up from $786 million in the 2013 second quarter, or $2.28 per share. Swiss Re’s solid performance stands in contrast with a softening reinsurance market that has adversely affected many of its rivals.
“We continue to take advantage of opportunities as they arise – for example in high growth markets – and actively manage our overall portfolio,” Group CEO Michel M. Liès said in a statement issued with Swiss Re’s latest earnings report in early August. “I am confident that Swiss Re will remain successful at every stage of the cycle.”