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Irish Life Upgrades to ‘AA’ Reflecting Leading Market Position

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ireland’s largest life assurance company, Irish Life, has welcomed the decision by Fitch Ratings to upgrade Irish Life Assurance plc (Irish Life) one notch, to ‘AA’ from ‘AA-‘.

The upgrade of Irish Life’s rating reflects Fitch’s view that Irish Life has become ‘core’ to its parent company, Great-West Lifeco Inc. Previously, Fitch viewed Irish Life as being ‘very important’ to its owner. Great-West Lifeco’s ownership of Irish Life has resulted in a three-notch uplift in Irish Life’s Insurer Financial Strength rating to ‘AA’ from its stand-alone assessment of ‘A’.

Commenting on the upgrade, Bill Kyle, CEO of Irish Life Group said:

We are pleased that Fitch has once again recognised the progress made in recent months and in particular has noted that the upgrade reflects Irish Life’s strong standalone capitalisation, comparatively low-risk business and leading market position.

Fitch also noted that Great-West Lifeco’s acquisition of Irish Life has been well managed and has provided the company with critical scale in the Irish market as well as operational synergies and expense savings.

The acquisition has strengthened Irish Life’s top position in Ireland with a market share greater than 30%.

Irish Life contributed CAD40 million (€27.4 million) to Great-West Lifeco’s profits in the third quarter of 2015 and is in the process of further strengthening its position through the creation of 150 new jobs in the company.