Ratings Recap: Misr/AlChark/Egypt Re, KAMP RE, Calliden, American Club, Groupama

A.M. Best Co. has placed the financial strength rating (FSR) of ‘A-‘ (Excellent) and the issuer credit rating (ICR) of “a-” of Misr Insurance Company under review with negative implications, along with the FSR of ‘B++’ (Good) and the ICR of “bbb” of Egyptian Reinsurance Company (Egypt Re) and Al Chark Insurance Company under review with developing implications. “These rating actions follow the Insurance Holding Company’s (the sole shareholders of the three state-owned companies) announcement to merge Egypt Re and Al Chark with Misr,” Best explained. The rating agency expects to resolve the under review status soon after the merger has been completed and details have been clarified.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said today that its ‘CC’ senior secured debt rating on KAMP RE 2005 Ltd.’s $190 million floating-rate principal-at-risk notes are remaining on CreditWatch with negative implications, where it was placed on Oct. 13, 2005 [KAMP RE, a special purpose vehicle, was heavily affected by the 2005 hurricanes]. The notes are due to mature on Dec. 14, 2007. “Swiss Reinsurance America Corp. has until Dec. 10, 2007, to file an extension notice with, among others, Zurich American Insurance Co. and KAMP RE 2005 Ltd.,” S&P explained. Since the last update on this rating, there have been no significant developments. “We will continue to monitor the transaction for any developments and will issue updates or take ratings actions as appropriate,” stated S&P credit analyst Gary Martucci.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said today that it had lowered its insurer financial strength and counterparty credit ratings on Calliden Insurance Ltd. (CIL; formerly Australian Unity General Insurance Ltd.) to ‘BBB-‘ from ‘BBB’. The ratings were also removed from CreditWatch with negative implications, where they were placed on July 11, 2007, and the outlook revised to stable. At the same time, the ratings and outlook were withdrawn at the company’s request

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said today that it raised its counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on American Steamship Owners Mutual P&I Assn. Inc. (American Club) to ‘BB-‘ from ‘B+’, and removed the ratings from CreditWatch with positive implications. The outlook is stable. The “rating action reflects American Club’s improved capitalization on an absolute basis, which grew from a very low $8.4 million at year-end 2005, to $32.4 million as of the first six months of 2007,” explained S&P credit analyst Siddhartha Ghosh.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has placed its ‘A’ long-term counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings on French insurer Groupama S.A. and core subsidiaries on CreditWatch with positive implications, following its launch today of a minimum €500 million perpetual, deeply subordinated debt issue. “The CreditWatch placement reflects the positive trend that we have already recognized in revising the outlook to positive on April 6, 2007,” stated S&P credit analyst Lotfi Elbarhdadi.