Coronavirus to Weaken Thai Life Insurers' Capital

Stocks and Financial Services Press Releases Monday June 29, 2020 14:30
Bangkok--29 Jun--Fitch Ratings

Fitch Ratings believes Thai life insurance companies could report a thinner capital position over the next 12-18 months due to the uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic disturbances. The domestic life insurers could potentially face the valuation losses from the drawdown of their investment assets' market values and further subdued investment yields. Moreover, a significant drop in the country's stock market index over the past few months has highlighted the increased downside risk to the insurers' investment portfolios and credit profiles during an irregular situation.

Growth of life insurance premium written has been muted in 2020, according to our expectation which is line with that of the Thai Life Assurance Association. Rising demand for health-related insurance products will continue to drive premium growth, but is unlikely to offset the drop in new premiums from traditional products such as savings-type insurance plans. Volatile financial markets might also hamper the local policyholders' appetite on investment-linked insurance products.

Fitch views Thai life insurers as remaining reasonably cautious on their investment-management decisions, as indicated by their main investment assets being in government and high-quality corporate bonds. In addition, the industry has maintained sound capitalisation, as evident from the average risk-based capital adequacy ratio of 361% in 2019 well above the 140% regulatory minimum level, which should partly mitigate the risks from deteriorated earning performance and possible claims.

The report, "Thai Life Insurance Market Dashboard 2020", is available at www.fitchratings.com or by clicking on the link

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