The Covid-19 outbreak may be rattling financial markets around the world, but it’s not expected to derail the Canadian life insurers in 2020, according to a new report from DBRS Ltd.
The rating agency expects the ratings on Canadian life insurers to remain stable in 2020, “based on a moderate impact of the [Covid-19] outbreak,” it stated.
“For 2020, the outlook for the rated Canadian life insurers remains stable,” DBRS added, “although there are headwinds that will pressure overall profitability and new business growth.”
In 2019, the Canadian lifecos generated solid earnings amid growth in their new business, both at home and in their foreign operations, the agency stated.
While that momentum is likely to be dampened by weaker global economic growth, and lower interest rates will crimp profits, DBRS said, the insurers are likely to remain well capitalized.
Despite challenges, such as heightened market volatility, low rates and weaker economic growth amid the Covid-19 outbreak, DBRS said, “The sector’s robust capital buffers above minimum supervisory levels will help to provide cushion against these headwinds.”
Additionally, the rating agency said, strong risk management frameworks at the insurers will help them “navigate adverse changes in the credit cycle,” and that their modest financial leverage has them well positioned “to navigate a stressed market environment.”