Monday 22 January 2018

S&P upgrades importance of Irish Life to parent company

Irish Life chief executive David Harney
Irish Life chief executive David Harney
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's has upgraded the importance of Irish Life to its parent company, Great West Lifeco.

S&P bumped its view from 'strategically important' to 'highly strategic' based on Irish Life's market position and its success in the life assurance business.

The agency also reaffirmed the A+ rating of Irish Life and said the outlook for the Great West subsidiary was "stable". Irish Life's A+ rating is lower than its parent's AA rating, which is due to sovereign risk associated with Ireland.

Irish Life chief executive David Harney welcomed the upgrade.

"Our recent entry into the health insurance market, through the establishment of Irish Life Health, was highlighted as a particular strategic development," he said.

In the midst of the rating upgrade S&P highlighted the importance of Irish Life as an entry point into the Eurozone market for Lifeco.

The upgrade comes after Irish Life increased its contribution to its parent in the third quarter of the year as profits rose by 33pc to €36m.

So far this year the Irish insurer has contributed €109.5m to the Canadian giant.

Total investor assets in Irish Life's Multi-Asset Portfolio Strategies (MAPS) reached close to €6bn, including €2bn by 35,000 investors in Retail MAPS funds.

Lifeco bought Irish Life three years ago from the State, which had ended up in control of the business following the effective nationalisation of the former Irish Life and Permanent in the wake of the financial crash.

Irish Life started its health insurance product in September causing "a number corporate clients to transfer their company schemes to Irish Life Health".

Irish Independent

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