Ratings Roundup: Civic Assurance, Ballantyne Re

May 27, 2008

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of ‘A’ (Excellent) and issuer credit rating of “a” of New Zealand Local Government Insurance Corporation Limited (Civic Assurance) with a stable outlook. “The rating affirmations reflect Civic Assurance’s solid risk-based capitalization, continued operating profitability and strong liquidity,” said Best. “The ratings also acknowledge the company’s unique market position in the local
government authorities sector.”

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has lowered its senior debt rating on Ballantyne Re plc’s Class A-1 notes to ‘BB’ from ‘BBB-‘. S&P said the notes would remain on CreditWatch with negative implications, where they were placed on Nov. 21, 2007. Credit analyst Gary Martucci explained that S&P has taken the actions “in response to the asset reports that indicate continued mark-to-market losses in the various asset accounts will result in an interest payment trigger being breached.” The rating agency also noted that it would continue to “monitor the developments related to this latest disclosure and take future ratings actions as warranted.”

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