William Dewsall says unrated insurer has no plans to seek a rating, but does not rule it out

Reliance on financial strength ratings when choosing which insurers to deal with is “box ticking”, according to unrated insurer Gable’s chief executive William Dewsall.

He said his firm has no current plans to get a rating from one of the main agencies despite concerns in the UK market about unrated insurers.

But he added that he would not completely rule out seeking a rating in future.

Speaking to Insurance Times after the release of Gable’s first-half results last week Dewsall said: “I find it very odd that people just judge an insurance company by a rating agency’s opinion. It is very much box-ticking and I don’t really like that.”

He pointed out that  as Gable is listed on the London Stock Exchange, its results are easily accessible for brokers to take their own view on the company’s financial strength.

Dewsall said: “Our balance sheet can be seen. Our reinsurance can be seen. It’s all transparent. Let people judge us on our own ability to trade. I don’t need a tick from a rating agency to tell me that I am solvent and I can pay my claims.

He added that  the introduction of Solvency II, which is designed to harmonise capital rules for insurers across Europe, “should level the playing field somewhat”.

Dewsall claimed Gable’s growth showed that it did not need a rating. He said: “It doesn’t seem to be making much difference to us.

“It seems more of an issue in the UK than it does in Europe. In Europe we never get asked at all. We have been asked this year so far maybe twice about ratings, and bear in mind we are doing thousands of policies a year. I don’t think it is a real consideration for me.”

He also expressed a lack of confidence in rating agencies, pointing out that US insurer AIG was rated triple A before its government bail-out in 2008.

He said: “Until someone can suggest to me a rating agency will give us a guarantee on their opinion, then maybe I will take it a little more seriously.”

However, he added that his company might consider a rating in the future.

He said: “If I felt it was appropriate for the business at some stage in the future as it grows to call a rating agency in and have a chat with them, I would do so.”