Best Removes Ratings for Balboa Insurance Group, Subs from Review

October 7, 2005

A.M. Best Co. has removed from under review the financial strength rating of A (Excellent) and issuer credit rating of “a” of Balboa Insurance Group (Irvine, Calif.) and its operating subsidiaries. The ratings apply to Balboa Insurance Company, Meritplan Insurance Company and Newport Insurance Company. At the same time, A.M. Best has affirmed the ratings and assigned a stable rating outlook.

Balboa’s rating was removed from under review following the demonstrated capital support provided by its parent, Countrywide Financial Corporation, and its willingness and ability to replenish the capital negated by Hurricane Katrina. This support was evidenced by a capital contribution in third quarter 2005 and a commitment to transfer an additional $45 million in capital from Balboa Life Insurance Company to Balboa sometime in fourth quarter 2005.

Prior to this action, the financial strength rating of A (Excellent) was placed under review with negative implications on Sept. 15, 2005 following the estimated insured wind and flood losses sustained from Hurricane Katrina and its impact on capitalization.

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