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20/08/2008 - AM Best has reaffirmed SALAMA's rating of A- "Excellent".

OLDWICK, N.J., AUGUST 18, 2008

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and the issuer credit rating (ICR) of "a-" of SALAMA Islamic Arab Insurance Company (P.S.C.) (SALAMA) (United Arab Emirates). The outlook for both ratings is stable.

The ratings of SALAMA reflect its strong risk-adjusted capitalisation, supported by very good operating performance, and its solid and improving business profile.

In A.M. Best's opinion, SALAMA's current and prospective risk-adjusted capitalisation remains at a strong level. SALAMA in 2007 utilized its risk-adjusted capitalization aggressively mainly due to changes in the investment strategy as well as a significant growth in the company's consolidated business portfolio. Going forward, A.M. Best believes that SALAMA's risk-adjusted capitalisation is to stay at similar levels as in 2007 and is expected to maintain its strong position supported by a medium risk profile and full retained earnings.

A.M. Best anticipates SALAMA to maintain a very good operating performance, with annual post tax profit being in the range of USD 40-50 million per annum over the next two years. A.M. Best also expects the company to maintain a stable combined ratio of approximately 96% and strong investment income. SALAMA's investment strategy changed in 2007, with a higher proportion of investments being placed in marketable and private equities; however, in A.M Best's view, it is still conservative.

A.M. Best believes SALAMA and its subsidiaries have a solid business profile in their traditional territories (Far East, Africa, Middle East and Central Asia), which is further improving with geographical expansion, business growth and introduction of new life lines. A.M. Best anticipates group gross premiums written to increase by around 35% in 2008 and 30% in 2009.
 

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