Ratings Roundup: Valiant, Mass. Homeland/York

July 12, 2010

A.M. Best Co. has placed under review with developing implications the financial strength rating of ‘A-‘ (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “a-” of Valiant Insurance Company and Valiant Specialty Insurance Company, both domiciled in Wilmington, Del., following the recent announcement that First Mercury Financial Corporation will acquire Valiant from Bermuda reinsurer, Ariel Holdings Ltd. [See IJ web site – https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/midwest/2010/07/06/111331.htm]. Best said the ratings would “remain under review pending regulatory review, approval and the completion of Best’s analytical process. The ICR for Ariel Holdings Ltd. is not impacted by this transaction. Valiant targets the management liability, professional liability, primary and excess umbrella and marine and energy lines of business. In aseparate bulletin Best announced that it sees no rating changes for First Mercury, as a result of the acquisition (See IJ web site – https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2010/07/12/111493.htm].

A.M. Best Co. has downgraded the financial strength rating to ‘A-‘ (Excellent) from ‘A’ (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings to “a-” from “a” of Massachusetts Homeland Insurance Company and York Insurance Company of Maine. Best also removed the ratings from under review with negative implications and assigned a stable outlook. “These rating actions reflect the explicit support in the form of a 100 percent quota share provided to York by its affiliate, North East Insurance Company (NEIC) and to Mass Homeland by its affiliate, Tower National Insurance Company (TNIC),” Best explained. “Both NEIC and TNIC are ultimately owned by Tower Group, Inc. and are members of the Tower Group Companies’ pool.” Best added that its ratings decision follows the announcement by Tower that it has completed the acquisition of Mass Homeland, York and other assets in a cash transaction valued at $167 million. The downgrades reflect the lower ratings of Tower relative to OneBeacon Insurance Group, Ltd.” Best had placed the ratings under review with negative implications on February 2, 2010 following the announcement that Tower had signed a definitive agreement to purchase the two companies from OneBeacon as part of Tower’s purchase of OneBeacon’s personal lines business [See IJ web site – https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2010/02/03/107077.htm].

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