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Considering unrated insurers?

Published: 7/5/15

Considering unrated insurers?

Unless you were one of their unfortunate policyholders you might not know too much about it when an insurer goes bust. Notwithstanding Independent Insurance that collapsed some 14 years ago, it has lately tended to be smaller firms and not big brand names.

Spring 2014 saw the collapse of a number of insurance companies including Setanta Insurance who specialised in cover for commercial vehicles in Ireland, the Icelandic insurer European Risk Insurance Company who covered people in the southwest of England for floods and the Latvian insurer Balvan and the Gibraltar-based insurer Lemma who provided cover for 1,300 law firms.

An unrated insurer is one that doesn’t carry an Insurance Financial Strength Rating as provided by the likes of Standard & Poors and Moody’s. An obvious example of a rated insurer would be Aviva; awarded A+ by Standard & Poors.

Standard & Poors tell us that they assess an insurer’s credit profile by looking at:

Insurance Industry And Country Risk Assessment (IICRA)
Competitive position
Capital and earnings
Risk position
Financial flexibility
Enterprise risk management (ERM)
Management and governance, and
Liquidity

So why would anyone take the risk and choose to use an unrated insurer? Well, more often that not it comes down to price, but it can sometimes be the particular circumstances of the risk in question. Unrated insurers would say that they create competition in the market place and alternatives to more expensive policies. There are times when the policy holder may not be aware that the insurer is unrated, because the policy is marketed under another brand and the insurer is supplying ‘white label’ cover for a third party.

As an insurance broker we work with a large number of insurance providers, covering a multitude of risks; irrespective of policy type we know our market and who the underwriter is.

Flint is able to give you a number of insurance options from differing underwriters, coupled with our professional advice for a particular risk. Ultimately the decision is yours, but at least you do it fully aware of the comparative pros and cons and with your eyes open. This is one of the many benefits of using a trusted and professional insurance broker.


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