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Insurance ratings actions: Fitch affirms W. R. Berkley, subsidiaries

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Insurance ratings actions: Fitch affirms W. R. Berkley, subsidiaries

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.

U.S. and Canada

A.M. Best has upgraded the financial strength rating to A- (Excellent) from B++ (Good) and the long-term issuer credit ratings to "a-" from "bbb" for the members of Bunker Hill Insurance Group.

The members are Bunker Hill Insurance Co., Bunker Hill Insurance Casualty Co., Bunker Hill Preferred Insurance Co., Bunker Hill Property Insurance Co. and Bunker Hill Security Insurance Co.

The outlook of the long-term issuer credit rating has been revised to stable from positive, while the outlook for the financial strength rating remains stable.

Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and long-term issuer credit ratings of "a-" of the members of Plymouth Rock Assurance Group, with a stable outlook.

The members are Plymouth Rock Assurance Corp., Mt. Washington Assurance Corp. and Pilgrim Insurance Co.

The ratings of Bunker Hill reflect its very strong balance sheet, strong operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management. The rating upgrades of the members of Bunker Hill are based on the companies' improved risk-adjusted capitalization, predominantly a result of enhancements to the catastrophe reinsurance program and solid growth in policyholders' surplus.

The ratings of Plymouth Rock reflect its very strong balance sheet, adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

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A.M. Best has upgraded the financial strength rating to A- (Excellent) from B++ (Good) and the long-term issuer credit ratings to "a-" from "bbb" for the members of Palisades Group and High Point Homeowners Group with a stable outlook.

The Palisades members are Palisades Safety and Insurance Association, Palisades Insurance Co., High Point Property and Casualty Insurance Co., High Point Safety and Insurance Co., Twin Lights Insurance Co. and Teachers Auto Insurance Co. of New Jersey.

The High Point members are High Point Preferred Insurance Co. and Palisades Property and Casualty Insurance Co.

Palisades' ratings reflect its very strong balance sheet, adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

High Point's ratings reflect its very strong balance sheet, strong operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The rating upgrades reflect Palisades' and High Point's improved underwriting and operating performance in recent years and enhancements to their catastrophe reinsurance program, which has improved risk-adjusted capitalization. Performance also has improved in the core books of business as a result of underwriting discipline and rate actions.

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A.M. Best has removed from under review with developing implications and upgraded the financial strength rating to A (Excellent) from A- (Excellent) and the long-term issuer credit rating to "a" from "a-" of Blackboard Specialty Insurance Co. and Blackboard Insurance Co. with a stable outlook.

The ratings of the members of the AIG Property Casualty US Insurance Group have been extended to the two companies due to the significant level of reinsurance support provided to them by National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa., the lead member of the group.

The ratings of the two companies reflect the balance sheet of the members of the group categorized as strongest, marginal operating performance, favorable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

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A.M. Best has affirmed the financial strength rating of A (Excellent) and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "a" of Farmers Automobile Insurance Association and its wholly owned subsidiary, Pekin Insurance Co., with negative outlooks.

Concurrently, the agency has affirmed the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a-" of Pekin Life Insurance Co. with stable outlooks.

The ratings of Pekin reflect its balance sheet categorized as strongest, adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management. The negative outlooks reflect deterioration in underwriting performance that has resulted in underwriting and operating metrics falling short of composite averages.

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A.M. Best has affirmed the financial strength rating of A+ (Superior) and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "aa-" of Chesterfield, Mo.-based RGA Reinsurance Co., RGA Americas Reinsurance Co. Ltd. and its subsidiaries, RGA Life Reinsurance Co. of Canada and RGA Atlantic Reinsurance Co. Ltd.

The outlook of these ratings is stable.

The ratings reflect RGA Re's strong balance sheet, strong operating performance, favorable business profile and very strong enterprise risk management.

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Fitch Ratings has affirmed Greenwich, Conn.-based W. R. Berkley Corp.'s A- issuer default rating and the A+ (Strong) insurer financial strength ratings of its property and casualty operating subsidiaries with a stable outlook.

The subsidiaries are Acadia Insurance Co., Admiral Insurance Co., Berkley Insurance Co., Berkley National Insurance Co., Berkley Regional Insurance Co., Berkley Regional Specialty Insurance Co., Carolina Casualty Insurance Co., Continental Western Insurance Co., Firemen's Insurance Co. of Washington D.C., Nautilus Insurance Co., Tri-State Insurance Co. of Minnesota, Union Insurance Co. and Union Standard Lloyds.

The affirmation reflects Berkley's very strong, long-term financial results with strong capitalization despite higher financial leverage than peers, a strong business profile with a diversified specialty underwriting portfolio and niche market positions in several lines and modest exposure to catastrophe losses.

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S&P Global Ratings withdrew its ratings on Kanawha Insurance Co. after Humana Inc. completed the sale of its stock of KMG America Corp. to Continental General Insurance Co.

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S&P affirmed its A+ long-term issuer credit and financial strength ratings on Delta Dental of New Jersey Inc. and revised the outlook to negative from stable.

The agency expects weakened earnings for the company in 2018-2019, with earnings before interest and taxes-adjusted return on revenue of negative 1% to positive 1%. S&P noted that the company is facing higher administrative expenses in 2018, including the return of the Affordable Care Act fee, higher business costs and increased investment related to strategic initiatives to support enterprise modernization.

Europe

A.M. Best has assigned a financial strength rating of B (Fair) and a long-term issuer credit rating of "bb+" to Russian Reinsurance Co. JSC with a stable outlook.

The ratings reflect Russian Re's strong balance sheet, marginal operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

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A.M. Best has affirmed the financial strength rating of A (Excellent) and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a+" of Lloyd's of London Syndicate 3000 with a stable outlook.

The ratings of Syndicate 3000 reflect the very strong balance sheet of the Lloyd's market, strong operating performance, favorable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management. The Lloyd's market rating is the floor for all syndicate ratings, reflecting the Lloyd's chain of security and, in particular, the role of the central fund, which partially mutualizes capital at the market level.

Asia-Pacific

A.M. Best has downgraded the financial strength rating to B++ (Good) from A- (Excellent) and the long-term issuer credit ratings to "bbb+" from "a-" of Singapore-based ERGO Insurance Pte. Ltd.

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

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

The downgrade reflects a material decline in capital below projections provided to A.M. Best in January due to weaker than expected performance. As a result of its reduced capital size, the company's risk-adjusted capitalization could experience greater volatility from unexpected events.

The outlook revision was because of A.M. Best's concern with the execution risk related to the ERGO Group AG's plan to reposition ERGO Insurance in Singapore.

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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