The IDR and revenue bond ratings have been affirmed because performance has been in line with expectations and no upgrade or downgrade triggers were activated.
KEY RATING DRIVERS
CEA's ratings reflect the strategy to maintain minimum and maximum aggregate claims-paying levels to 1-in-450-year and 1-in-550-year return loss periods, respectively. The CEA had
The CEA's principal risk is a catastrophic earthquake large enough to exhaust its claims-paying resources and requiring it to access the capital markets or other sources in order to pay claims. The total claims-paying resources are estimated to cover losses for a 1-in-471-year earthquake, or a probability of (resource) exhaustion of 0.2% at
Fitch's risk assessment of the CEA's claims-paying resources is adequate (i.e. 'BBB' category). Fitch reviewed the probability of exhaustion from three independent modeling firms and from the CEA's survivability scenarios against the insurance-linked security (ILS) calibration matrix for this assessment.
Fitch's belief is that the CEA's financial flexibility is much stronger than similarly rated private insurers that insure catastrophe risk, which allows its final rating to be elevated a full category above the risk assessment of claims paying resources, to 'A'. It is our view that the state of
There are potential public policy or industry initiatives that would contribute to the CEA's ability to recapitalize following a large earthquake that exhausted its claims-paying resources. Also contributing to the CEA's financial flexibility are its strong capital formation rate and the ability to access capital markets to issue additional revenue bonds.
Additional strengths include the CEA's stable pledged revenue and performance on debt service covenants that result in part from its highly profitable operations and significant market share. The quality of the CEA's investment portfolio is very high, consisting solely of cash and equivalents,
Key ratings triggers that could lead to a downgrade include changes in claims-paying resources that reduced covered losses to a one-in-400-year event. However, a timely demonstration of the CEA's ability to access capital markets or recapitalize by other means, following a reduction in claims-paying capacity, could mitigate downgrade pressure.
Fitch may also downgrade the ratings if the quality of its investment portfolio or the financial strength of its industry members or reinsurers declined materially.
The key rating trigger that could lead to an upgrade is an increase in claims-paying resources to a one-in-1,000-year event.
The CEA is a privately financed, publicly managed entity that offers basic residential earthquake insurance in
FULL LIST OF RATING ACTIONS
Fitch has affirmed the following:
--2014 series revenue bonds due 2017 at 'A';
--2014 series revenue bonds due 2019 at 'A'.
--IDR at 'A'.
Additional information is available on www.fitchratings.com
Insurance Rating Methodology (pub.
Insurance-Linked Securities Methodology (pub.
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Source: Fitch Ratings