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Rating Action:

Moody's upgrades Kazakhstan based Centras Insurance to B2. Stable outlook

01 Feb 2011

London, 01 February 2011 -- Moody's has today announced that it has upgraded its global scale insurer financial strength rating on Kazakhstan based Centras Insurance to B2 from B3. The outlook is stable.

RATING RATIONALE

The upgrade is driven by the strengthening market position of Centras within the Kazakhstan Insurance market during the past 2 years. Gross premium written at Q3 2010 was KZT 3,893 million (US$ 26.0mn) compared to KZT 2,221mn for full year 2008. Centras is the 10th largest insurer in Kazakhstan with a market share of about 3.3%, and has continued to grow profitably in a market which has seen significant reductions in volume during the financial crisis with a net income of KZT 1,157 million for 9 months 2010. Centras' growth has been supported by an increased capital base through retained earnings and an investment portfolio focused on fixed income instruments

Centras Insurance is a key component of the Centras Capital group, which also has fund management, securities trading and leasing businesses. Centras group is also the majority shareholder in Kommesk Omir Insurance (rated Ba3 Stable). Centras Insurance has been operating in its current form since 2005 and focuses on providing retail insurance while introducing more advanced Western insurance products into the Kazakhstan market via a heavily reinsured commercial insurance risk department. Unlike many insurers in Kazakhstan, Centras is not a captive insurer affiliated to large commercial or banking group.

More negatively, Moody's notes that despite the strong growth recorded in recent years Centras remains a small insurer by global standards with premium of about USD26mn as of Q3 2010 and total assets of KZT 5,287 (US$ 35.3mn). In addition although its investment strategy is restricted to fixed income instruments (a strategy which ensured Centras did not suffer from losses during recent falls in the Kazakh equity markets), those instruments are not highly rated by global standards.

Gross underwriting leverage, at 3.2x is high in comparison to other rated insurers in the CIS, but Moody's notes the extensive use of reinsurance placed with strong Western reinsurers. However, while this strategy reduces net exposure to insurance risk it does mean that Centras is somewhat reliant on these reinsurers continuing to write business in the Kazakhstan market at reasonable rates.

The outlook is stable, as Moody's expectations for growth over the next few years are reflected in the B2 rating. The rating could be reviewed positively if the capital position relative to premium and reserves strengthens, or if Centras reaches a top tier position in the Kazakh insurance market. Conversely, the rating could come under negative pressure if Centras fails to maintain the current level of profitability or capital levels weaken.

The following ratings were upgraded to B2 with a stable outlook:

Centras Insurance Insurance Financial Strength

The principal methodology used in this rating was Moody's Global Rating Methodology for Property and Casualty Insurers published in May 2010.

The last rating action on Centras was on 16th June 2008 when the rating was assigned at B3 with a positive outlook

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

Information sources used to prepare the credit rating are the following: parties involved in the ratings, parties not involved in the ratings, public information, and confidential and proprietary Moody's Investors Service information.

Moody's Investors Service considers the quality of information available on the issuer or obligation satisfactory for the purposes of maintaining a credit rating.

The rating has been disclosed to the rated entity or its designated agents and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.

Moody's Investors Service may have provided Ancillary or Other Permissible Service(s) to the rated entity or its related third parties within the three years preceding the Credit Rating Action. Please see the ratings disclosure page www.moodys.com/disclosures on our website for further information.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a credit rating is of sufficient quality and from sources Moody's considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, Moody's is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on Moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history.

The date on which some Credit Ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's Investors Service's Credit Ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's Investors Service 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.

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London
Paul Oates
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

London
Simon Harris
MD - Financial Institutions
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
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United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's upgrades Kazakhstan based Centras Insurance to B2. Stable outlook
No Related Data.
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