A.M. Best Positive on Commerce Acquisition of N.Y.’s State-Wide

December 28, 2006

A.M. Best Co. has placed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A- (Excellent) of State-Wide Insurance Co. of Hempstead, N.Y. under review with positive implications.

This action has been taken due to the announced acquisition of SWICO Enterprises, Ltd., the holding company of State-Wide, by ACIC Holding Co., Inc., a subsidiary of The Commerce Group, Inc.of Websyer, Mass. The transaction is valued at $52 million, and at September 30, 2006, State-Wide’s policyholders’ surplus was $46.4 million.

Commerce Group, Inc. has an FSR of A+ (Superior) and an issuer credit rating (ICR) of “aa-“, and at September 30, 2006, the group’s policyholders’ surplus was $1.5 billion. These ratings apply to the lead company, The Commerce Insurance Co., and its three inter-company pool members.

A.M. Best said its rating of State-Wide will remain under review pending regulatory approval and further discussions with the new owner on State-Wide’s integration into The Commerce Group, Inc.
State-Wide is licensed in New York and New Jersey and primarily writes private passenger automobile and homeowners’ insurance in the state of New York.

At this time, A.M. Best said its financial strength rating (FSR) of A+ (Excellent) and the issuer credit rating (ICR) of “aa-” of Commerce Group, Inc. are unaffected by this transaction.

Source: A.M. Best

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