Best Affirms Markel’s Lloyd’s Syndicate 3000 Ratings

July 1, 2005

A.M. Best Co. announced that it has affirmed its Syndicate Rating of “A” (Excellent) and the issuer credit rating of “a” of Lloyd’s Syndicate 3000 which is managed by Markel Syndicate Management Ltd. The outlook for both ratings is stable.

“The ratings reflect the syndicate’s profitable underwriting performance and good business profile as a specialist underwriter, as well as the financial strength of the Lloyd’s market—currently rated A (Excellent)—which underpins the security of all Lloyd’s syndicates,” said Best. It added that the rating is based on its specific syndicate criteria, which can be consulted at:

Best said it “forecasts a satisfactory return on capacity in 2005 (approximately 5 percent), which reflects the moderate softening (5 percent -10 percent) for the main lines written by the syndicate. For the 2004 open underwriting year, the unprecedented hurricane season is likely to reduce the return to approximately 7 percent following a return of approximately 17 percent in 2003 as a result of excellent trading conditions and the absence of significant claims activity.”

The rating agency also indicated that “although the syndicate and Markel International, the other London market operation of Markel North America Insurance Group (the syndicate’s parent), share the same underwriting management, the syndicate has a stronger focus on marine (approximately 25 percent of net written premiums) and has a different geographical exposure in other lines of business, such as professional indemnity and property.

“In addition, the syndicate was formed in 2002 and has not experienced any adverse reserve development for previous underwriting years.”

Best indicated that “gross premium income is likely to remain stable for the 2005 underwriting year at approximately GBP 145 million (USD 259.8 million) due to withdrawal from some business lines (aviation), which is likely to be compensated by the expansion in new regions (Canada). A.M. Best believes the syndicate’s parent is committed to the syndicate as its main operation for marine and for those markets where the Lloyd’s brand has strong recognition. “

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