Best Downgrades Wellington’s Holding Company Debt Ratings

July 10, 2006

A.M. Best Co. has downgraded the issuer credit rating (ICR) to “bbb” from “a-” of the U.K.-based Wellington Underwriting plc (WU), the non-operating holding company of the Wellington group. At the same time, Best assigned debt ratings of “bbb-” to the $27 million floating rate subordinated notes due 2036 and the €7 million ($8.96 million) floating rate subordinated notes due 2035, both issued by WU in May 2006. The outlook for all ratings is stable.

“The downgrade of WU’s ratings reflects reduced diversification in its earnings following the disposal of 67 percent of its total shareholding in Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd.,” Best explained. “In addition, the rating reflects the newly assigned Best’s Syndicate Rating of ‘A’ (Excellent) and ICR of ‘a’ to Lloyd’s Syndicate 2020, which is WU’s principal source of income.” (See also previous article).

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