Ratings Roundup: Agri-Business, Guarantee, Kanawha, HRH

September 12, 2007

A.M. Best Co. has placed the financial strength rating (FSR) of “B++” (Good) and the issuer credit rating (ICR) of “bbb” of Texas-based American Agri-Business Insurance Company (AA-BIC) under review with positive implications, as a result of the announcement that AA-BIC’s privately held parent, ARMtech Insurance Service, Inc. and one of Bermuda-based Endurance Specialty Holdings, Ltd.’s U.S. based holding companies’ has entered into an agreement to acquire 100 percent of ARMtech. “AA-BIC holds a standard reinsurance agreement (SRA) with the Federal Crop Insurance Corp. (FCIC) and is licensed to underwrite crop insurance in 34 states,” Best noted.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has raised its long-term counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on The Guarantee Co. of North America (GCNA) to ‘A-‘ from ‘BBB+’ an assigned a stable outlook.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services commented that Humana Inc.’s (BBB/Stable/–) announcement that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Kanawha Insurance Co.’s (BBB/Watch Pos/–) parent company, KMG America, would not affect the ratings on Kanawha. “The $187.7 million transaction, which includes estimated assumed debt of $50 million, will be financed through a combination of cash and debt,” said S&P.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has affirmed its ‘BB’ counterparty credit and bank loan ratings on Hilb, Rogal & Hobbs with a positive outlook. S&P then withdrew the ratings at the request of HRH’s management. “These rating actions follow HRH’s announced plans to refinance its credit agreement dated April 26, 2006, and subsequently issue senior notes under a noncommitted master shelf agreement,” explained S&P credit analyst Tracy Dolin.

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