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Announcement:

Moody's affirms Aa3 rating of AIA Bermuda with a stable outlook

21 Nov 2011

Hong Kong, November 21, 2011 -- Moody's Investors Service has affirmed the Aa3 insurance financial strength (IFS) rating of American International Assurance Co (Bermuda) Ltd (AIA Bermuda) with a stable outlook.

RATINGS RATIONALE

"The affirmation of AIA Bermuda's Aa3 rating with a stable outlook reflects its maintenance of reasonably stable business and financial profiles following AIA Group's IPO in October 2010," says Sally Yim, Moody's Vice President and Senior Credit Officer, adding, "the IPO has enhanced the group's financial flexibility, and brought in a very diverse investor base."

AIA Bermuda makes up about 40% of AIA Group's assets and operates mostly in Hong Kong and Korea. AIA Bermuda is an important component of AIA Group. The group has common management, operations, and strategic direction. While the rating does incorporate an assessment of AIA Bermuda as a legal entity, Moody's analysis does take into account the broader AIA Group given the way the group manages its capital, with a high degree of fungibility among the different operating entities.

"The Aa3 IFS rating on AIA Bermuda is based on its leading market positions in Hong Kong and Korea, and its strong profitability, which is driven by the solid performance of its underwriting and investments," says Yim. The rating takes into account the fact that the individual branches and subsidiaries of AIA Bermuda have comfortably met their respective regulatory solvency requirements, indicating strong levels of capital adequacy. In addition, the company as well as the broader AIA Group has a significant and diversified geographic footprint within Asia, a region with some of the world's fastest growth insurance markets. Further, the group has Asia's largest agency force, and whose productivity is improving.

"Nonetheless, the life insurance markets in which AIA Bermuda and the broader AIA Group operate remain highly competitive. This puts pressure on the group to maintain its profitability and achieve its growth targets," says Yim. The recent market conditions could also lead to higher volatility in its capitalization and profitability. American International Assurance Company Limited, Thailand Branch holds a large block of Thai government bonds to match its local liabilities. As of May 31, 2011, its exposure was high at around 45%-50% of the group's shareholders' equity. These bonds have a lower rating of Baa1 than that of AIA Bermuda. Together with its equity investment exposure of around 8% of total investments, Moody's is concerned that a large portion of its capital is exposed to concentration risk and assets of relatively high volatility.

Expanding further on the rating rationale, Moody's highlighted a number of sensitivities that could lead to a change in AIA Bermuda's rating in the future.

The rating of AIA Bermuda could be upgraded if on the AIA Group basis, there are 1) significant improvements in market positions in the smaller markets and maintenance of the market positions for the larger markets; 2) a reduction of high-risk assets to below 50% of shareholders' equity on a sustainable basis; 3) further diversification of distribution channels other than agency; and 4) reduced volatility in earnings.

On the other hand, the rating could be downgraded if on the AIA Group basis, there is 1) significant agent turnover higher than normal levels; 2) a significant aggressive change in its investment and capital management policy; 3) a significant deterioration in its profitability, e.g. return-on-capital consistently fell below 10%; and 4) a significant deterioration in capital adequacy, e.g. adjusted capital-to-assets ratio fell below 10%.

ABOUT AIA

AIA Bermuda is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of AIA Group, also an operating company offering life insurance through its branches in Hong Kong, Macao, Korea, New Zealand, and Taiwan; its subsidiaries in Indonesia and Vietnam; as well as its 26%-owned joint venture in India.

AIA Group offers a wide variety of life insurance products in 15 jurisdictions throughout Asia Pacific. These include traditional individual life, group life and medical, credit life, accident, and health and investment-linked products sold through tied agents, bancassurance, brokers, and direct marketing channels. For six months ended May 31, 2011, AIA Group reported net income attributable to shareholders of US$1.3 billion. Shareholders' equity was US$21.1 billion at May 31, 2011.

RATING METHODOLOGIES

The principal methodology used in this rating was Moody's Global Rating Methodology for Life Insurers published in May 2010. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

Please see Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions on the Rating Process page on www.moodys.com for further information on the meaning of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history. The date on which some ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's provides a date that it believes is the most reliable and accurate based on the information that is available to it. Please see the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Sally Yim
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Ltd.
24/F One Pacific Place
88 Queensway
Hong Kong
China (Hong Kong S.A.R.)
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Stephen Long
MD - Financial Institutions
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Ltd.
24/F One Pacific Place
88 Queensway
Hong Kong
China (Hong Kong S.A.R.)
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Moody's affirms Aa3 rating of AIA Bermuda with a stable outlook
No Related Data.
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