The operating performance of Dai-ichi Life Holdings (DLH) has been strong and stable, supported by a stable trend of premium income and ordinary profit, notes AM Best.
Although annualised premiums from new policies of its domestic insurance business declined by 53% in the first half of fiscal-year 2020 (1 April-30 September 2020) due largely to sales activity restrictions, the group’s domestic insurance companies have resumed their sales activities fully since October 2020. Over the near term, the group’s new sales performance is still likely to be impacted negatively by the COVID-19 pandemic and a low foreign interest rate environment.
Nevertheless, AM Best expects that the group’s stable in-force book of business will continue to sustain its fundamental profit.
AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A+ (Superior) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “aa-” of Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Limited (DL) (Japan), the wholly owned operating subsidiary of DLH. The outlook of these credit ratings is stable.
DLH is the ultimate parent for the entire Dai-ichi organisation. In AM Best’s opinion, DL is viewed as integral to the group, given its financial, operational, and strategic importance to the overall organisation. Accordingly, DL’s ratings are based upon the balance sheet fundamentals and organisation operating performance of the DLH organisation, which are then extended specifically to DL.
The ratings reflect DLH’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorises as very strong, as well as its strong operating performance, favourable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.
DLH’s balance sheet strength assessment mainly reflects its risk-adjusted capitalisation at the strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio. Despite the group’s higher financial leverage compared with other domestic life insurers, its adjusted debt leverage ratios are generally below 25%. In addition, the group continues to have an appropriate asset-liability management strategy to maintain a consistently positive investment spread and manage potential asset-liability mismatch risk.
DLH continues to be one of the leading life insurance groups in Japan. In its domestic market, the group continues to diversify its distribution channels by developing different brands (ie. Dai-ichi Life, Dai-ichi Frontier Life and Neo First Life) to meet different customer needs. The group also continues to seek geographical diversification through the expansion of its overseas insurance business, which currently contributes 25% of the group’s adjusted profit.
The stable outlooks reflect AM Best’s expectation that DLH will maintain its overall balance sheet assessment, supported by its risk-adjusted capitalisation at the strongest level, as measured by BCAR. AM Best expects ongoing strategic initiatives by management to ensure DLH maintains a consistent and strong operating performance over the intermediate term.