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Insurance ratings actions: A.M. Best affirms Argo Group; S&P acts on Excellus

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Insurance ratings actions: A.M. Best affirms Argo Group; S&P acts on Excellus

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

US and Canada

A.M. Best revised the outlooks to stable from positive and affirmed the financial strength rating of B+ and the long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb-" of Wexford, Pa.-based Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Co. of McCandless Township.

The ratings reflect Farmers' strong balance sheet, adequate operating performance, limited business profile and marginal enterprise risk management.

The outlook revisions reflect recent deterioration in underwriting performance that has resulted in underwriting and operating metrics falling short of A.M. Best's expectations.

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A.M. Best affirmed the long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb" of Bermuda-based Argo Group International Holdings Ltd.

The agency also affirmed the financial strength rating of A and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "a" of Argo Re Ltd. and its subsidiaries.

The subsidiaries are ArgoGlobal SE, Argonaut Great Central Insurance Co., Argonaut Insurance Co., Argonaut Ltd. Risk Insurance Co., Argonaut-Midwest Insurance Co., Argonaut-Southwest Insurance Co., ARIS Title Insurance Corp., Colony Insurance Co., Peleus Insurance Co., Colony Specialty Insurance Co., Rockwood Casualty Insurance Co., Select Markets Insurance Co. and Somerset Casualty Insurance Co.

The outlook of these ratings is stable.

The ratings reflect Argo Group's balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as strongest; adequate operating performance; neutral business profile; and appropriate enterprise risk management.

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Moody's upgraded the corporate family rating of Huntington Beach, Calif.-based Confie Seguros Holding II Co. to B3 from Caa1 and changed the ratings outlook to stable from negative.

The upgrade was based on Confie's proposed new capital structure, which removes uncertainty about refinancing risk associated with its credit facilities. Moody's noted the company's leading position as a broker of nonstandard auto insurance to underserved communities.

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S&P Global Ratings revised its outlook on Rochester, N.Y.-based Excellus Health Plan Inc. to stable from positive and affirmed the company's BBB+ long-term issuer credit and financial strength ratings.

S&P reassessed Excellus' financial risk profile due to its view of heightened potential volatility with respect to MedAmerica, the company's closed-block long-term care subsidiary. The agency noted Excellus' continued demonstrated track record of performance turnaround in its core health plan operations.

Europe

S&P placed the BBB long-term issuer credit rating and financial strength rating on The Shipowners' Mutual Strike Insurance Assn. Europe, or The Strike Club, on CreditWatch with positive implications after the announcement of a proposed merger with The Standard Club Ltd.

The agency said being part of a larger, more diverse group could be beneficial for The Strike Club.

Asia-Pacific

A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating of A- and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a-" of Micronesia-based Marble Reinsurance Corp.

The outlook of these ratings is stable.

The ratings reflect Marble's strong balance sheet, strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings, a separately managed division of S&P Global. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings. The original S&P Global Ratings documents referred to in this feature can be found here and here.

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