S&P Revises Sunderland Marine Outlook to Positive

July 28, 2003

Standard & Poor’s has revised its outlook on U.K.-based insurer Sunderland Marine Mutual Insurance Co. Ltd. (SMMI) to positive from stable. At the same time, Standard & Poor’s affirmed its ‘BBB’ long-term counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings on SMMI.

“The outlook revision reflects Standard & Poor’s expectation that the recent marked improvement in SMMI’s operating performance will be sustained at least until the end of 2004, thereby enabling the company to achieve its medium-term target of replenishing its free reserves to a level in excess of GBP30 million,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Peter Grant.

Barring severe adverse loss conditions in the second half of the year, Standard & Poor’s expects that SMMI’s surplus for the full year will exceed GBP5 million, which is well above the company’s original forecast.

The ratings reflect SMMI’s rapidly improving operating performance, strong capitalization, and very good niche business position. The ratings may be raised if SMMI continues to adopt a prudent investment strategy and is able to demonstrate that it has maintained its underwriting discipline.

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