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Announcement:

Moody's affirms Zurich's Bolivian subsidiaries' ratings

 The document has been translated in other languages

31 Mar 2011

Buenos Aires, March 31, 2011 -- Moody's Latin America has affirmed the B1 global local-currency insurance financial strength (IFS) ratings and the Aa2.bo IFS ratings on the Bolivian National Scale of La Boliviana Ciacruz de Seguros y Reaseguros ("La Boliviana") and Zurich Boliviana Seguros Personales ("Zurich Boliviana"). The companies' ratings have a stable outlook.

Zurich Boliviana is a medium-sized life insurer in the Bolivian market, and focuses primarily on underwriting short-term life insurance policies for both individuals and corporations. The company distributes its policies through multiple sales channels, including independent agents, brokers, and direct sales. La Boliviana is a property-and-casualty insurer and underwrites insurance coverages for both personal and commercial lines, including fire, general liability, motor, and transportation.

According to Moody's, the companies' ratings primarily reflect their adequate product diversification, brand recognition and reputation, and their relatively strong and sustained financial profiles in comparison with other Bolivian insurers. Expanding on its rationale, Moody's noted that Zurich Boliviana has consistently maintained a strong capital position relative to other local insurers, along with a good profitability track record. La Boliviana, in turn, has sustained profitable underwriting margins (with a combined ratio under 100%) and stable gross underwriting leverage.

Moody's regards Zurich Boliviana and La Boliviana as benefiting from a certain degree of support from majority-owner, Zurich Financial Services with respect to product design, underwriting, staff training, as well as internal reporting and controls. Furthermore, the use of the "Zurich" brand in the local life operating subsidiary is an important factor in terms of market reputation and growth potential.

Offsetting these strengths, however, Moody's noted that both companies have significant investment risks - common to all Bolivian insurers - arising from their concentrated investments in Bolivian sovereign bonds and Bolivian bank deposits. Moody's believes the concentrated exposure to these non-investment-grade assets significantly constrains the companies' capital strength when viewed on a risk-adjusted basis. Investment policy is mandated by local regulatory guidelines; therefore, local insurers have limited flexibility with respect to portfolio composition. Bolivia's operating environment, which in Moody's view has a speculative grade profile, is also a factor that constrains insurers' credit profile.For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010, La Boliviana and Zurich Boliviana, both based in La Paz, Bolivia, reported net income of Bs$ 14 million and Bs$ 10 million, respectively, and total gross premiums of Bs$ 210 million and Bs$ 69 million, respectively. As of that date, La Boliviana reported total shareholders' equity of Bs$ 93 million, whereas Zurich Boliviana reported Bs$ 54 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 Zurich's Bolivian subsidiaries' ratings
No Related Data.
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