Ratings Roundup: Zurich (US), National Indemnity, 21st Century

May 17, 2007

A.M. Best Co. has assigned a rating of “bbb” to the $1.5 billion subordinated trust preferred securities issued by Zurich Holding Company of America (ZHCA). The notes were issued through ZFS Finance (USA) Trust IV for a principal amount of $500 million and ZFS Finance (USA) Trust V for a principal amount of $1 billion. The rating is based on the subordinated support agreement from the parent companies, Swiss-based Zurich Financial Services (ZFS) and Zurich Group Holding

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of “A++” (Superior) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “aaa” of the professional reinsurers of the National Indemnity Group. Best also affirmed the “A++” FSR and assigned ICRs of “aaa” to the five non-reinsurance members of the group. The outlook for all ratings is stable. Best noted that the “ratings reflect the group’s core importance within the Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s insurance and non-insurance organizations, superior risk-adjusted capitalization, excellent market profile and strong total return measures.”

Fitch Ratings commented today that its ratings on 21st Century Insurance Group remain on Rating Watch Positive, following the Company’s announcement that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement, with its majority-shareholder, American International Group, Inc. (AIG), of all of the outstanding shares of common stock AIG doesn’t already own – around 39.2 percent (See related article). Fitch noted that the “shares will be purchased in cash, for a total purchase price of approximately $813 million, representing an 11.4 percent increase over AIG’s original proposed price. Upon completion of the transaction, 21st Century will become a wholly owned subsidiary of AIG.”

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