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Announcement:

Moody's affirms BISA Seguros' and La Vitalicia's ratings

 The document has been translated in other languages

Global Credit Research - 31 Mar 2011

Buenos Aires, March 31, 2011 -- Moody's Lain America has affirmed the B1 global local-currency insurance financial strength (IFS) ratings and the Aa2.bo IFS ratings on the Bolivian National Sacle of BISA Seguros y Reaseguros S.A. (BISA Seguros) and La Vitalicia Seguros y Reaseguros de Vida S.A (La Vitalicia). The companies' ratings have a stable outlook.

BISA Seguros and La Vitalicia are the general insurance and life subsidiaries, respectively, of the major Bolivian financial conglomerate BISA Group, whose ultimate parent company is Banco BISA S.A. According to Moody's, the two insurers benefit from their affiliation with this large domestic financial services group.

Moody's said that BISA Seguros' ratings primarily reflect the company's good profitability trend, its stable combined ratio over the past five years, which has been consistently below 100%, and its sustained leadership in the Bolivian property and casualty insurance market. The rating agency noted that even when BISA Seguros fell to the second position based on gross premiums as of December 2010, the company is still the leader based on net premiums. Offsetting these positive developments are 1) the company's significant investment risks, given their concentrations in local government bonds and domestic bank deposits which are below investment-grade, and 2) Bolivia's specific operating environment, which in Moody's view also has a speculative grade profile. The rating agency noted these two factors are common to most Bolivian insurers, and that as investment policy is mandated by local regulatory guidelines, local insurers have limited flexibility with respect to portfolio composition.

Commenting on La Vitalicia, Moody's noted that the company's ratings are primarily explained by the insurer's sustained strong profitability -- which has been supported by favorable investment results -- as well as by its leading position in the life and annuities segment and its relatively stable and good capitalization indications. "Although as of December 31, 2010 the company suffered a decline in its return on capital metric, the company has established voluntary reserves that allows it to face low market interest rates without further eroding the company's capitalization and profitability. However, should the current low interest scenario persist, the company's financial profile could be affected at some point in time", commented Moody's analyst Diego Nemirovsky. These strengths are tempered by the company's significant investment risks -- common to most Bolivian insurers --, its asset-liability management challenges given inflation-adjusted annuities with spread compression and reinvestment risks, and its declining market share trend as a result of a recent pension reform that will eliminate the annuity segment, currently representing around 21% of the company's premiums.

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010, BISA Seguros and La Vitalicia, both based in La Paz, Bolivia, reported net income of Bs$ 18 million and Bs$ 42 million, respectively, and total gross premiums of Bs$ 336 million and Bs$ 106 million, respectively. As of that date, BISA Seguros reported total shareholders' equity of Bs$ 96 million, whereas La Vitalicia reported Bs$ 396 million of total shareholders' equity.

Moody's insurance financial strength ratings are opinions of the ability of insurance companies to pay punctually senior policyholder claims and obligations. For more information, visit our website at www.moodys.com/insurance.

NOTE: Moody's National Scale Ratings (NSRs) are intended as relative measures of creditworthiness among debt issues and issuers within a country, enabling market participants to better differentiate relative risks. NSRs differ from Moody's global scale ratings in that they are not globally comparable with the full universe of Moody's rated entities, but only with NSRs for other rated debt issues and issuers within the same country. NSRs are designated by a ".nn" country modifier signifying the relevant country, as in ".bo" for Bolivia. For further information on Moody's approach to national scale ratings, please refer to Moody's Rating Implementation Guidance published in August 2010 entitled "Mapping Moody's National Scale Ratings to Global Scale Ratings.

Buenos Aires
Diego Nemirovsky
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Latin America, Calificadora de Riesgo
JOURNALISTS: (800) 666 -3506
SUBSCRIBERS: (5411) 4816-2332

New York
Robert Riegel
MD - Insurance
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's Latin America, Calificadora de Riesgo
Cerrito 1186, 11th fl
Buenos Aires C1010AAX
Argentina
JOURNALISTS: (800) 666 -3506
SUBSCRIBERS: (5411) 4816-2332

Moody's affirms BISA Seguros' and La Vitalicia's ratings
No Related Data.
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