Ratings Roundup: Dongbu (Hawaii); SPARTA; Benicorp

August 16, 2007

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has assigned its ‘BBB+’ insurer financial strength rating to Dongbu Insurance Co. Ltd. (Hawaii Branch) with a stable outlook. “The rating reflects Dongbu Insurance’s good competitive position in Korea, strong capitalization, and solid operating performance,” said S&P.

A.M. Best Co. has assigned a financial strength rating of “A-” (Excellent) and an issuer credit rating of “a-” to Canton Mass.-based SPARTA Insurance Company with a stable outlook. “The ratings reflect SPARTA’s excellent capitalization, experienced management team, stringent underwriting guidelines, conservative business plan and state-of-the-art technology,” said Best. However the rating agency added: “Due to the start-up nature of the company, there is the potential inability for it to attract the targeted business required to grow the company and for the business written to not generate the earnings anticipated.”

A.M. Best Co. has assigned a financial strength rating (FSR) of “E” (Under Regulatory Supervision) to Indianapolis-based Benicorp Insurance Company. “This rating action follows the issuance of a public order of rehabilitation by the Indiana Department of Insurance on August 9, 2007,” Best explained. Best had previously downgraded the ratings on Benicorp and its subsidiary, Municipal Insurance Company of America (MICA) (Arlington Heights, IL) “because of their weakened financial results and concentrated business profile.” The ratings were subsequently withdrawn at the Company’s request.

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