Aetna International Partner with Starr International Insurance (Asia) Ltd in Hong Kong
By Simon Thomson | Published January 24, 2013
Insurer Aetna International is changing its strategic insurance partner in Hong Kong. As of the 24th January 2013, all underwriting will be provided by Starr International Insurance (Asia) Ltd as opposed to their prior partner GAN Assurances IARD. Changing underwriting providers is rarely seen as a positive thing, as it hints at disputes amongst the prior partners, and may harm the portfolios of their clients. However, Globalsurance believe that this strategic partnership will benefit Aetna, and its current and future clients, as Starr International Insurance is unanimously rated higher than GAN Assurances, and their parent company Groupama, in ratings by insurance company reviewers. Globalsurance believe that this new partnership will see an improvement in Aetna’s overall ratings in the future, and bodes well for the future of their clients as well.
Aetna International is one of the world’s leading health insurance companies, with a long history, a range of products available and offices throughout the world. Their change in insurance partners will affect those applying for new policies with Aetna International as of the 24th January 2013, when all underwriting of new policies will be carried out by Starr International. Clients in Hong Kong who are already insured with Aetna will have their policy’s underwriting responsibilities transferred into the control of Starr International Insurance during their renewals period with effect from the 1st of March 2013. Aetna International have ensured that this transition between underwriters will be smooth and seamless, with no additional requirements made of current clients at their time of renewal.
The change of partners from GAN Assurances IARD to Starr International (Asia) Ltd comes after GAN Assurances’ parent company, the insurer Groupama, were downgraded with regards to their rating as performed by both S&P (Standard and Poor) and Fitch Ratings. Groupama is based in France, and was significantly affected by the global economic crisis which caused both Greece and Spain dire economic problems and forced the insurer to sell its Spanish operations as well as other operations throughout Europe. Globalsurance reported the insurer’s downgrade in June of 2012, when S&P determined Groupama’s rating to have fallen from a BBB to a BB- with a negative outlook, classifying the insurer as ‘junk’ status. Similarly, Fitch Ratings initially rated Groupama and GAN Assurances as a Hong Kong subsidiary of Groupama, as a BB- with a negative outlook, later changing this outlook to ‘evolving’.
In contrast to these ratings, Starr International Insurance (Asia) Ltd has been rated as “A (Excellent)” by the ratings company A.M. Best. Starr International Insurance is a subsidiary of Starr Companies and Starr International Company, Inc., and has offices on five continents offering numerous services including reinsurance, underwriting and customised insurance products. Globalsurance believe that Starr International’s higher rating and the proven track record of their company bodes well for the future partnership between themselves and Aetna in Hong Kong.
A large company such as Aetna changing underwriting providers is not often viewed as a positive move in the insurance industry and typically hints at disputes between the former partners. Furthermore, it also suggests potential negative outcomes for the portfolio of the insurer and it’s clients who signed during the partnership. However, in this instance, and based on the ratings received by S&P, Fitch, and A.M. Best, Globalsurance believe that this new partnership will be beneficial to both Aetna and its clientele. The bold move to change underwriters shows Aetna’s intent to maintain a high quality service for their clients and should bode well for the future of these clients and of Aetna in Hong Kong.
Globalsurance are pleased to continue offering health insurance policies by Aetna underwritten through their new partner. For further information on the policies available from Aetna and Starr International, contact us here.