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Insurance ratings actions: A.M. Best affirms RetailFirst, Crusader Insurance

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Insurance ratings actions: A.M. Best affirms RetailFirst, Crusader Insurance

S&P Global Market Intelligence compiles ratings actions in the insurance space daily through 5:30 p.m. ET. Actions after 5:30 p.m. ET will be included in the following day's roundup.

Life and health

Kroll Bond Rating Agency assigned an insurance financial strength rating of A- to Catholic Financial Life.

The outlook for the rating is stable.

The rating reflects Catholic Financial's conservative balance sheet, solid membership base, steady statutory earnings, M&A expertise, diversified business mix and value-added enterprise risk management practices.

Multiline

A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength ratings of A- (Excellent) and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "a-" of the life and health and property and casualty operating subsidiaries of Colonial Group International Ltd., a wholly owned intermediate holding company of Edmund Gibbons Ltd.

The outlook of these ratings is stable.

The life and health and property and casualty operating subsidiaries of Colonial Group that were affirmed include Colonial Medical Insurance Co. Ltd., Atlantic Medical Insurance Ltd., Colonial Life Assurance Co. Ltd., Colonial Insurance (BVI) Ltd., Colonial Insurance Co. Ltd., Security & General Insurance Co. Ltd. and British Caymanian Insurance Co. Ltd.

Security & General's ratings reflect the company's strong balance sheet, marginal operating performance as a result of losses from hurricanes, appropriate enterprise risk management and business profile, which is limited due to its concentration of risk in property and motor lines of business in the Bahamas.

The ratings of British Caymanian reflect the company's very strong balance sheet, adequate operating performance, adequate enterprise risk management and business profile, which is limited because of its concentration of underwriting risk in property and motor lines in the highly competitive Cayman Islands.

Property and casualty

A.M. Best downgraded the long-term issuer credit rating to "bbb" from "bbb+" and affirmed the financial strength rating of B++ (Good) of Affinity Mutual Insurance Co.

The outlook of the long-term issuer credit rating was revised to stable from negative, while the financial strength rating outlook remains stable.

A.M. Best said the rating actions reflect Affinity Mutual's volatility in underwriting and operating performance over the last five years. The company's underwriting results were impacted by weather-related events and fire losses, coupled with historically elevated underwriting expense structure, the rating agency said.

The ratings actions also reflect the company's risk-adjusted capitalization, which is at the strongest level; low underwriting leverage; and "very strong" balance sheet. A.M. Best said Affinity Mutual's positive ratings are somewhat offset by its exposure to weather-related events as a result of geographic concentration of risk, as well as high product risk of the business it typically writes.

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A.M. Best upgraded the financial strength rating to A (Excellent) from A- (Excellent) and the long-term issuer credit rating to "a" from "a-" of Housing Specialty Insurance Co. Inc.

The outlook of these ratings was revised to negative from stable.

Concurrently, A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating of A (excellent) and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a" of HAI Group members Housing Authority Property Insurance A Mutual Co., Housing Authority Risk Retention Group Inc., and their jointly owned subsidiary Housing Enterprise Insurance Co. Inc.

The outlook of these ratings remains negative.

A.M. Best said the ratings upgrades of Housing Specialty reflect HAI Group's support as a new member of the group. The ratings of the members of HAI Group acknowledge the group's strong balance sheet, marginal operating performance, favorable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management, the rating agency said.

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A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating of B++ (Good) and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "bbb+" of RetailFirst Insurance Co. and BusinessFirst Insurance Co., collectively referred to as RetailFirst Insurance Group.

The outlooks were revised to positive from stable.

A.M. Best said the ratings reflect the group's "very strong" balance sheet strength and capitalization, solid operating profitability measures and management's disciplined operating philosophy. The positive ratings factors are somewhat offset by the difficult market conditions in the workers' compensation line of business and the group's concentrated business profile as a single-line insurer with significant concentration in Florida, the rating agency said.

A.M. Best also recognizes the group's long-standing relationship with Summit Consulting Inc., as the two organizations have long held a strong working relationship and hold a solid presence in Florida.

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A.M. Best affirmed Crusader Insurance Co.'s financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "a-".

A.M. Best also affirmed the long-term issuer credit ratings of "bbb-" of Unico American Corp., Crusader's parent company.

The outlooks for both companies were revised to negative from stable.

The negative outlooks reflect A.M. Best's concerns with Crusader's recent declining underwriting performance, as well as the recently implemented management restructuring and the execution risk that comes with strategic operating changes.

A.M. Best said the ratings capture Crusader's "very strong" balance sheet strength, strong operating performance and marginal enterprise risk management. Crusader's geographic concentration of risk in California and limited business profile, which subject the company to competitive market pressures and a challenging legislative and regulatory landscape, offset the positive factors, the rating agency said.

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A.M. Best placed under review with positive implications the financial strength rating of B+ (Good) and long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb-" of Midrox Insurance Co.

The review status follows a signed 100% quota share reinsurance agreement between Midrox and Mid-Hudson Co-Operative Insurance Co., anticipated to be effective Jan. 1, 2018, following state approval. Mid-Hudson has also assumed board control of Midrox, with the majority of board members represented by Mid-Hudson.

The reinsurance agreement is expected to improve Midrox's financial position as a result of the implicit support from Mid-Hudson, the rating agency said.

A.M. Best expects the ratings to remain under review until the contract is approved by the New York Department of Financial Services and A.M. Best undergoes a complete analysis of the transaction.