Best Affirms Rating for Lloyd’s Syndicate 609

December 19, 2003

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the Best’s Syndicate Rating of A (Excellent) of Lloyd’s Syndicate 609, which is managed by Atrium Underwriters Limited. The outlook remains stable.

The rating reflects the syndicate’s excellent financial performance and business profile, in addition to the financial strength of the Lloyd’s market – currently rated A- (Excellent) – which underpins the security of all Lloyd’s syndicates. The rating is based on A.M. Best’s specific syndicate criteria. (See A.M. Best’s rating methodology for Lloyd’s syndicates at

A partially offsetting factor is the syndicate’s modest market position compared with larger competitors. Excellent operating performance – A.M. Best expects the syndicate to record excellent results when the 2001 to 2003 years are closed, continuing a consistent record of profitability since its inception in 1984.

The syndicate’s projected return of 3 percent of capacity for the 2001 year of account (Syndicate Quarterly Returns at September 2003) is likely to be achieved, despite the inclusion of losses relating to the World Trade Center and the terrorist attacks on the airport at Colombo, Sri Lanka. A.M. Best believes that the syndicate’s prospective performance will continue to place it in Lloyd’s upper quartile.

Excellent business profile – Syndicate 609 has an excellent business profile and writes a well diversified account, both on a geographical and class of business basis. The syndicate benefits from significant expertise in certain specialist areas such as marine hull ‘total loss only’, submarine cables and ports. Other classes written include non-marine property, marine liability, energy, aviation and war.

A.M. Best acknowledges that the syndicate’s modest size – 2003 stamp capacity: GBP 160 million (USD 280 million) – in comparison with many of its competitors, is principally the result of its strategy not to pursue growth when rates are considered to be inadequate. This is reflected in an unchanged stamp capacity of approximately GBP 66 million (USD 115.5 million) between 1994 and 2001.

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