Ratings Recap: Chartis U.S Subs; Landcar, Prism, Pacific Pioneer

November 3, 2010

A.M. Best Co. has withdrawn the financial strength rating (FSR) of ‘A’ (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings of “a” and assigned an NR-5 (Not Formally Followed) to the FSRs and “nr” to the ICRs of Louisiana-based Audubon Insurance Company and its subsidiary, Audubon Indemnity Company (collectively, the Audubon Companies), and National Union Fire Insurance Company of Louisiana. Best noted that these “companies were members of the Chartis US Insurance Group and were subsidiaries of American International Group, Inc. (AIG). All existing ratings of AIG and its subsidiaries are unaffected by these rating actions.” The rating actions “reflect the merger of the Audubon Companies and NUFIC – LA with and into National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., the former parent of NUFIC – LA and an affiliate of the Audubon Companies, which became effective October 7, 2010,” Best explained. ”

A.M. Best Co. has assigned a financial strength rating (FSR) of ‘A-‘ (Excellent) and issuer credit rating (ICR) of “a-” to Landcar Casualty Company. Best also assigned an FSR of ‘B++’ (Good) and ICR of “bbb+” to Landcar Life Insurance Company. Both companies are domiciled in Sandy, Utah. The outlook assigned on all of the ratings is stable.

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and the issuer credit rating of “a-” of Vermont-based captive insurer Prism Assurance, Ltd., both with stable outlooks. The ratings reflect Prism’s “strong capitalization and enhanced operating performance. Also inuring to the ratings is Prism’s strategic role as the captive insurance company of Apogee Enterprises, Inc. and the substantial financial flexibility available to Prism as part of Apogee.” As offsetting factors Best cited “Prism’s relatively large retained insurance limits. Nonetheless, the ratings recognize the company’s balance sheet strength and conservative underwriting leverage measures.”

A.M. Best Co. has upgraded the financial strength rating to ‘B++’ (Good) from ‘B+’ (Good) and issuer credit rating to “bbb” from “bbb-” of Calif.-based Pacific Pioneer Insurance Company, both with stable outlooks. The rating actions reflect Pacific Pioneer’s “solid risk-adjusted capitalization, consistent operating earnings and local market expertise,” said Best. The positive attributes reflect the company’s focused underwriting and claims management, which has produced favorable operating results, despite the significant reduction in its commercial multi-peril line of business in California.” As offsetting factors, Best cited the “challenging market conditions in the commercial multi-peril line of business and Pacific Pioneer’s concentrated business risk with a somewhat limited geographic spread that exposes it to additional competitive pressures, regulatory changes and judicial decisions.”

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