Ratings Recap: Accident & General, Inbursa, Swiss Re Frankona

September 29, 2009

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of ‘A-‘ (Excellent) and issuer credit rating (ICR) of “a-” of Accident & General Insurance Company Ltd. (AGI) of the Cayman Islands, both with stable outlooks. Best then withdrew the ratings and assigned an NR-4 to the FSR and an “nr” to the ICR. “These rating actions reflect AGI’s management’s decision to withdraw from A.M. Best’s interactive rating process,” said Best. “The ratings reflect AGI’s excellent capitalization levels, solid operating performance, experienced management team, niche market profile and extensive risk management and safety programs. Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are the concentration of risk associated with the company’s specific focus on recreational divers and its relatively high retention levels relative to surplus.” Best explained that “AGI has an extensive risk management program in place, focusing on diver safety, training and education. The company works closely with training agencies to provide training and educational workshops. Certified training instructors are required to take rigorous written and physical examinations in order to receive their certification or C-Card. The guidelines are strict and must be complied with or the instructor could potentially lose his/her license and liability coverage. The company has a global preferred provider network in place. The network ensures that the diver receives the necessary medical treatment, including the use of a hyperbaric chamber, if required.”

A.M. Best Co. has downgraded the issuer credit rating (ICR) to “a” from “a+” and affirmed the financial strength rating of ‘A’ (Excellent) of Mexico’s Seguros Inbursa S. A., both with stable outlooks. “The ratings reflect Seguros Inbursa’s solid risk-adjusted capitalization, historical profitability and diversified business profile,” said best. “The ratings also reflect the company’s affiliation with Grupo Financiero Inbursa, one of the largest financial groups in Mexico.” Best explained that “Seguros Inbursa operates as a composite insurer of life and non-life business and remains one of the larger and more profitable domestic insurance companies in Mexico. The company’s focus on expense management, along with significant levels of investment income, has historically resulted in favorable overall earnings.” Best also noted that “this has enabled Seguros Inbursa to continue to enhance its risk-adjusted capitalization. In addition, the company continues to benefit from synergies and significant operating efficiencies as a result of its access to Grupo Financiero Inbursa’s vast financial and system networks.” Best said the ICR downgrade reflects its “concerns with Seguros Inbursa’s underwriting losses in key business segments and reliance on its investment income for its overall earnings. In addition, the Mexican insurance market remains very competitive, and Seguros Inbursa will be challenged to maintain profitability and market share.”

A.M. Best Co. has withdrawn the financial strength rating (FSR) of ‘A ‘(Excellent) and issuer credit rating (ICR) of “a” of Swiss Re Frankona Rueckversicherungs-AG. Best also withdrew the FSR of ‘A’ (Excellent) and ICR of “a+” of Swiss Re Germany AG. Best then assigned an NR-5 (Not Formerly Followed) to the FSRs and an “nr” to the ICRs of Swiss Re Frankona and Swiss Re Germany. Best explained that “each company’s reinsurance assets were transferred to Swiss Re Europe S.A. (Swiss Re Europe) (Luxembourg), a subsidiary of Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd.” These actions occurred on July 14, 2009 and are retroactive to January 1, 2009. “Swiss Re Frankona and Swiss Re Germany have ceased writing new reinsurance risks, as Swiss Re Europe now covers ongoing business previously written by each company.”

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