Ratings Roundup: GUARD; Toyota; Starbound Re

June 4, 2007

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength ratings (FSR) of “A-” (Excellent) and assigned issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “a-” to GUARD Insurance Group (GUARD) and its members, which consist of AmGUARD Insurance Company (AmGUARD), EastGUARD Insurance Company (EastGUARD), NorGUARD Insurance Company (NorGUARD) and WestGUARD Insurance Company (WestGUARD). The outlook for the FSR is stable, as is the outlook assigned to the ICRs. All companies are domiciled in Wilkes Barre, PA. Best’s action follows the announcement that the GUARD Group has been acquired by Clal Insurance Enterprises Holdings, Ltd., Israel’s largest insurance group. Clal has a market share of over 20 percent in both the life and non-life insurance sectors. This is its first acquisition in the U.S. insurance industry. Best said has based the ratings on the Group’s “sound capitalization, solid liquidity and generally improving underwriting performance.”

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of “A-” (Excellent) and assigned an issuer credit rating of “a-” to Toyota Motor Insurance Company (TMIC) of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with a stable outlook. The rating “reflects TMIC’s adequate capitalization and improved operating performance,” said Best. “TMIC’s parent, Toyota Motor Insurance Services, Inc., whose ultimate parent, Toyota Motor Corporation, has consistently provided financial support to its subsidiary in order for it to maintain its current rating level. TMIC plays a strategic role as a provider of Vehicle Service Agreements (VSA) and Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP) plans to Toyota, Lexus and affiliated dealerships throughout the United States.”

A.M. Best Co. has assigned debt ratings of “a-” to the $55 million senior unsecured term loan facility, “bbb” to the $130 million senior unsecured term loan facility and “bb-” to the $54 million senior secured term loan facility (the term loans), all due on August 20, 2009 of Starbound Reinsurance II Limited, a Bermuda limited life special purpose Class 3 reinsurer [side car]. Best also assigned an issuer credit rating of “a” to the issuer. The outlook for all ratings is stable.

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