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AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Blue Whale Re Ltd.



AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A  (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a+” of Blue Whale Re Ltd. (Blue Whale) (Burlington, VT). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.

The ratings reflect Blue Whale’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).

The ratings also reflect Blue Whale’s strategic position as the captive insurer for Pfizer Inc. (Pfizer) [NYSE: PFE], a leading global pharmaceutical company. As Blue Whale insures or reinsures Pfizer’s global property exposures, it plays an important role in Pfizer’s overall ERM and assumes a critical role in protecting the Pfizer enterprise’s assets.

Blue Whale’s capitalization is very strong, albeit reliant on its parent. It operates at conservative underwriting leverage levels; however, it provides coverages with extremely large limits, and its gross exposures per loss occurrence are elevated. Although Blue Whale benefits from reinsurance protection, its net retentions remain very substantial. Reinsurance is provided by a large panel of reinsurers, and Blue Whale relies on significant capacity to support its obligations. Therefore, it depends heavily on reinsurance. Nevertheless, AM Best recognizes the quality of the reinsurers, and the substantial financial resources and support available to the captive as part of the Pfizer group.

Due to the nature of the relationship between Blue Whale and Pfizer, changes in Pfizer’s credit risk can have certain impact on Blue Whale’s ratings, as it is dependent on Pfizer’s ability to support its credit risk profile, competitiveness and risk management. The captive continues to be an integral component of Pfizer’s risk management platform. AM Best’s view of third-party credit ratings and Pfizer’s market-based credit risk measures indicate stability, resulting in Blue Whale’s outlooks being stable.

The company’s results rebounded in 2018, as the captive recovered from the impact of Hurricane Maria, which occurred in late 2017. Resolution of all Hurricane Maria-related claims is expected by mid-2019, after which time reserves are expected to return to historical levels.
Positive rating actions could occur if the company’s operating performance improves to outperform similarly rated peers with supportive risk-adjusted capitalization. Negative rating action could occur if underwriting performance weakens and negatively impacts risk-adjusted capitalization over time, or if there is a material shift in risk profile that could potentially undermine the stability and profitability of the company. In addition, negative rating action could occur if the parent’s credit profile materially deteriorates.