Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has placed its “A” long-term counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings on Luxembourg-based marine insurer British Marine Luxembourg S.A. (BM) on CreditWatch with positive implications.
“The CreditWatch placement reflects the expected change to BM’s group status to core from strategically important, thereby enabling the ratings on BM to be equalized with those on other core subsidiaries of its ultimate parent, QBE Insurance Group Ltd. (QBE; main operating entities are rated A+/Stable/–),” S&P explained.
“The change to BM’s group status reflects the strength of the explicit support provided to BM by QBE,” the bulletin continued. “This comes in the form of a 90 percent quota share provided to BM by Equator Reinsurances Ltd. (Equator Re; A+/Stable/–; itself a core entity of QBE) with effect from Jan. 1, 2007, and Equator Re’s plans to assume responsibility for the run-off of the legacy reserves currently held by BM’s affiliate, British Marine Holdings (not rated).”
“BM will be assigned core status, and the ratings raised to ‘A+’ with a stable outlook, on completion of the transfer of the run-off reserves currently held by British Marine Holdings to Equator Re,” stated S&P credit analyst Ali Karakuyu. “This is expected during the first quarter of 2007.”
S&P cautioned that “Preservation of BM’s core status will be contingent on the continuation of the group’s explicit support, and the ongoing maintenance of its stand-alone capitalization at a level at least consistent with its public rating.”
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