Carrier reputation and visible financial strength both mean a lot to the account side of the equation (as well as the brokers, the recent court decision not withstanding)
Back in the old days, late '70s into the '90s, the belief was that you could write workers comp at a big underwriting loss and still make money on the investment income that the reserves generated. They called it "cash flow underwriting" and companies like Crum & Forster, Continental, Reliance, and Home Insurance participated in this model with alacrity. Where are they now? The companies you mentioned came after them and where are they? Now comes the next generation of underwriting disasters. Each underwriting cycle has 'em. I had a guy at a large mutual company once tell me that the nice thing about working for a mutual is that you can write workers comp at 110 (combined ratio) and there are no shareholders giving you #$%$ about it.
My suspicion is that it is more hope than anything factual. What we saw with the SinkHole should play out with Meadowbrook as well -- the potential bidders will stay on the sidelines until management finishes upping its reserves and decimating book value.
What is funny is that people were making the same bet on Tower Group (TWGP) that became the SinkHole. The longs were all talking up book value and tangible book value, but by the time SinkHole's management got done writing up the loss reserves, the best they could get from an AmTrust affiliate was $3. This turd is still a short -- None of them, not AmTrust, and any of the other runoff management firms, will pay up for this #$%$ -- they will all wait for it to wilt first.
This POS now sits at a buck a share and the one clown on Wall Street that follows it has a price target of $2.50, yet his rating is "Hold" (which in Wall Street-speak means "Don't Hold."). Even funnier, Wheathead has bought into the $2.50 target! "Wall Street speaks! I will follow...." What a hoot!
Hey Wheathead, if you ever learn to look at a company's financials in a more objective light, your investment performance may improve...
But you don't understand! The SinkHole is NOT a "real" company. And why should they bother with listing requirements and worry about being listed anyway, given the prospective sale of its burned and smoldering corpse for a mere $3/shr?
It would appear that somebody knows something that you do not, as the recent selling pressure has come with relatively substantial volume.