Best Affirms Guardian General Ratings

December 14, 2006

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of “A-” (Excellent) of Guardian General Insurance Limited (GGIL) and its wholly owned subsidiary, N.E.M. (West Indies) Insurance Limited (NEMWIL) with a stable outlook. Both companies are domiciled in Trinidad & Tobago.

“The rating reflects GGIL’s dominant market presence, sound capitalization and improved catastrophe risk exposure,” said Best. “In addition, GGIL and NEMWIL are subsidiaries of the publicly-traded holding company, Guardian Holdings Limited (GHL), one of the most prominent financial groups in the region.”

Best noted, however, that “offsetting these positive rating factors are the unfavorable results in the U.K. division arising from restructuring efforts to streamline its operations. GGIL expects the U.K. division to return to profitability in the near term since the restructuring process is in its final stage.

“GGIL is the largest property/casualty writer in the Caribbean and has been able to diversify its catastrophe exposure through expansion into the United Kingdom and rebalance its book of business to minimize its catastrophe exposure. In 2004, GGIL expanded into the U.K. motor business with the formation of Link Insurance Company and the subsequent purchase of Zenith Insurance Company. This expansion resulted in a significant decrease in its overall exposure to windstorm events in the Caribbean. In addition, as a GHL subsidiary, the company enjoys strong support and financial flexibility.

“GHL, through its subsidiaries and joint ventures is engaged in the underwriting of all classes of insurance business and associated investment activities in the Caribbean and Europe.”

Source: A.M. Best

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