Ratings Recap: HSB Engineering; Everest Re

June 14, 2007

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of “A++” (Superior) and the issuer credit rating (ICR) of “aa+” of the UK-based HSB Engineering Insurance Limited (HSBEIL) with a stable outlook. Best’s analysis is based on its review of HSBEIL’s consolidated financial position, which concludes that “HSBEIL is likely to maintain excellent stand-alone risk-adjusted capitalization during 2007-09, taking into account expected dividend payments to its parent company, The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company, of three quarters of post-tax profits from 2007″ [See also Best’s ratings on AIG and HSB in “National Section].
Best further indicated that it “anticipates a continuation in HSBEIL’s focus on disciplined underwriting but expects soft market conditions during 2007 to result in a deterioration in the combined ratio to 85 percent-90 percent (from 79 percent in 2006). The rating of HSBEIL also factors support from its parent, reflecting HSBEIL’s importance as the group’s principle source of international growth outside the United States.”

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of “A+” (Superior) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “aa-” of the reinsurance and insurance subsidiaries of the Bermuda-based Everest Re Group Limited. Best also affirmed the ICRs of “a-” of Delaware-based Everest Re and Everest Reinsurance Holdings, Inc. as well as its debt ratings of “a-” on senior unsecured debt, “bbb+” on subordinated debt and “bbb” on preferred stock of Everest Re. The outlook for all ratings is stable. “Everest Re’s ratings reflect its strong risk-adjusted capitalization, very strong long-term operating performance and excellent market profile as a leading global reinsurance franchise,” Best explained. “Also, Everest Re’s success factors include diversification with regard to product lines, geography and distribution. The group also benefits from a strong and stable management team and has demonstrated success with regard to allocating capital to profitable business lines throughout phases of the reinsurance pricing cycle.”

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