Best Affirms ‘A’ Rating of Markel’s Lloyd’s Syndicate 3000

September 8, 2006

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of “A” (Excellent) and issuer credit rating (ICR) of “a” of Lloyd’s Syndicate 3000. The outlook on both ratings remains stable.

“In A.M. Best’s opinion, syndicate 3000’s financial flexibility is enhanced by the continued support of Markel Corporation, the ultimate parent of its sole capital provider, Markel Capital Ltd,” said the bulletin. “The ratings also reflect support provided by the financial strength of the Lloyd’s market.”

Best said it “forecasts a solid operating profit in 2006, driven by stronger underwriting earnings and assuming the absence of further exceptional catastrophe events. It is anticipated that the technical result will benefit from prior year reserve releases and post-hurricane rate increases in a number of the syndicate’s key business lines.”

Best also said it “believes the syndicate has reduced its exposure to catastrophe events by lowering aggregate exposures on its property and energy accounts, and by introducing natural peril exclusions on much of its risk excess portfolio.

“Syndicate 3000 has a good specialist business profile within Lloyd’s, leading approximately 40 percent of its total portfolio by gross premium income. In recent years, some lines of business written by the syndicate have been discontinued and others transferred to Markel International Insurance Company. Nevertheless, A.M. Best believes Markel remains committed to syndicate 3000 as its main underwriting center for those markets where the Lloyd’s brand has a strong recognition, particularly for marine risks. In 2007, A.M. Best believes the syndicate’s capacity is likely to increase in order to take advantage of rate increases on catastrophe exposed business.”

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