Ratings Roundup: ING Canada, AXA RE Pacific (PARIS RE)

July 5, 2007

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of “A+” (Superior) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “aa-” of the ING Canada Group. The group includes Belair Insurance Company Inc. (Montreal, Quebec), ING Insurance Company of Canada, ING Novex Insurance Company of Canada, The Nordic Insurance Company of Canada and Trafalgar Insurance Company of Canada. Best also affirmed the ICR of “a-” and the CAD 1 billion (US$945 million) preliminary short form base shelf prospectus’ indicative ratings of “a-” on senior unsecured debt securities, “bbb+” on subordinated unsecured debt securities and “bbb” on Class A preferred shares of ING Canada Inc., the holding company of ING Canada. All companies are domiciled in Ontario, unless otherwise specified. The outlook for all ratings is stable. Best noted: “The FSR reflects ING Canada’s superior capitalization; above average profitability; leading market position within the Canadian property/casualty industry; strong internal investment and claims management; knowledgeable executive management team experienced in growth through acquisitions; strong brand name recognition; advantages to market access through multiple channels of distribution; geographic and product line diversification; and sound catastrophe management backed by a comprehensive reinsurance program.”

A.M. Best Co. has downgraded the financial strength rating to “A”- (Excellent) from “A” (Excellent) and the issuer credit rating to “a-” from “a” of Singapore-based AXA RE Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. with a stable outlook. “The ratings of AXA RE Asia Pacific reflect the rating enhancement for its strategic role within the PARIS RE group based on the imminent change of ownership to PARIS RE,” said Best (See also related article). “Other factors include AXA RE Asia Pacific’s strong capitalization and excellent underwriting results.”

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