OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Please replace the release with the following corrected version. Language has been removed from the last sentence of the third paragraph.
The corrected release reads:
AM BEST DOWNGRADES CREDIT RATINGS OF WESTMINSTER AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY
AM Best has downgraded the Financial Strength Rating to A- (Excellent) from A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating to “a-” from “a” of Westminster American Insurance Company (Westminster) (Owings Mills, MD). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) remains stable.
The ratings reflect Westminster’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as strong, as well as its strong operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).
The rating downgrades reflect the significant level of adverse loss reserve development Westminster has reported recently, which has led to a steady decline in the company’s operating performance. The adverse reserve development added 12.3 and 6.9 points, respectively, to the 2017 and 2018 combined ratios. In response, management has taken aggressive actions through a comprehensive claims audit, which has resulted in additional case reserve strengthening, specifically on liability claims, through second-quarter 2019. Going forward, the company has implemented a much more conservative approach when establishing initial loss reserves for all liability claims, which should lessen adverse reserve development. As a result, AM Best anticipates that future operating performance will remain strong as the company continues to grow and expand.
The stable outlooks reflect AM Best’s expectation that Westminster will maintain its strong balance sheet strength and operating performance, and that the recent corrective measures taken by management will meaningfully improve the company’s overall ERM effectiveness. Westminster’s overall risk-adjusted capitalization remains supportive of its strong balance sheet strength assessment, and the company continues to maintain a conservative investment portfolio. Although recent adverse reserve development has dampened Westminster’s underwriting profitability, the company has continued to achieve underwriting and pre-tax operating profits, as well as surplus growth.
This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on AM Best’s website. For all rating information relating to the release and pertinent disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please see AM Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Understanding Best’s Credit Ratings. For information on the proper media use of Best’s Credit Ratings and AM Best press releases, please view Guide for Media - Proper Use of Best’s Credit Ratings and AM Best Rating Action Press Releases.
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