International rating agency, A.M. Best does not expect flooding in the Indian state of Kerala to have a significant impact on the balance sheet strength of rated Indian non-life insurers; however, the losses may add to the unfavorable underwriting performance that A.M. Best has flagged as a negative rating factor for some of these insurers.
According to the industry sources, the Indian general insurance industry, led by Chennai based state owned United India Insurance, will take a hit of over Rs 2000 crore out of the massive Kerala floods that have dented the state with Rs 20,000 crore of economic losses.
In a new Best’s Briefing, titled, “Kerala Floods: Limited Impact on Rated Insurers’ Capital, May Add to Performance Issues,” A.M. Best notes that Kerala represents a significantly smaller portion of the Indian non-life market and A.M. Best rated insurers’ overall gross premiums. Additionally, insurance penetration in India is low and insurance penetration in Kerala is estimated to be below the national average.
The cumulative rainfall this year during the 2018 summer monsoon period in Kerala was significantly higher than normal, and together with the release of waters from dams, created severe flooding in the region. The affected insurers rated by A.M. Best are expected to have adequate reinsurance protection, with deductibles that are small percentages of their premium base and capital sizes. A.M. Best will continue to closely monitor developments at its rated insurers as more information becomes available on the ultimate gross and net impact of the floods on their profitability.