S&P Assigns ‘A’ Rating to Stein Insurance Co. “Jersey”

May 27, 2003

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services announced that it has assigned its ‘A’ insurer financial strength and counterparty credit ratings to Stein Insurance Co. (Jersey) Ltd., a Channel Islands-based captive insurer of Australia’s BHP Billiton Ltd. group, with a “positive” outlook reflecting the financial strength of the parent company.

“The ratings on Stein Insurance reflect the strong degree of operational and strategic integration with the parent BHP Billiton Ltd. group (A/Positive/A-1), fulfilling a key risk-management role as one of the group’s captive insurers,” said S&P.

“Stein is well capitalized relative to its risk, benefits from sound reinsurance arrangements, and has a demonstrated track record of favorable operating performance, although with some volatility as evidenced by higher claims and a small net loss in 2002,” stated S&P credit analyst, Financial Services Ratings, Michael Vine,

S&P also noted: “Along with its Australia-based sister company BHP Billiton Marine & General Insurances Pty. Ltd., also rated ‘A’, Stein Insurance, with the involvement of external managers and advisors, fulfills its risk management role for BHP Billiton as a conduit for the assessment of group exposures, purchase of external reinsurance, and sharing of risk across the group.”

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