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NZ life insurer gains first rating

Fitch has given New Zealand-based Manchester Unity Friendly Society a BB- rating and a stable outlook.

It is the first time the ratings agency has given Manchester Unity a rating.

Fitch says the life insurer’s limited franchise, mutual status and declining membership are reflected in the rating.

“Offsetting the constraining factors is the support of its loyal membership base, low-risk insurance exposures and conservative investment portfolio,” it says.

Manchester Unity has a market share below 1% in New Zealand.

It underwrites simple medical and funeral plans that provide low-cost cover to members.

Fitch expects premium volume to fall due to the insurer’s declining membership, which stands at about 14,000.

The average duration of policyholder liabilities is about 11 years.

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